The Assyrian Demand for a Safe Haven was Discussed during November 2014 Security Council Meeting in Australia

  • Written by:

Sydney – 26 November 2014
During the past five months, the Australia Chapter of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) has conducted a series of meetings with high officials of the Australian government Authorities regarding the violent attacks in Iraq by the terrorist group called ISIL. The AUA delegation met with The Hon. Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs two times during this period and once more with the Adviser on South Asia and the Middle East. AUA delegates also met with the office of the Minister for Immigration the Hon Scott Morrison MP, they presented the Ministers with a detailed letter about the current situation in Iraq, requested support from the Australian government for a number of issues including immediate economic assistance to address the very basis of the acute humanitarian needs of the Assyrian refugee population, and called for the immediate intervention of the United Nations, the international community and the Australian Government to endorse and to assist in the establishment of a self-administered safe haven  (the Assyrian heartland in Northern Iraq)  in support of the indigenous Christian Assyrian and many other ethnic and religious minorities fleeing the sectarian conflict in Iraq. In addition; pleading with the Australian government, and the international communities, to provide, Assyrians in Iraq who are willing to defend their land with defence facilities and training to enable them to protect themselves.


A similar letter was handed by Mr Hermiz Shahen, the Deputy Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance to the Prime Minister of Australia the Hon Tony Abbott MP during the protest that was organised by the Assyrian Council of Australia in Canberra on 27 August 2014.


Mr Shahen, received a reply from the Prime Minister of Australia dated 22 September 2014, affirming his profound concern at the situation in Northern Iraq and his grieving for the ancient communities and faiths that have been destroyed and dislocated by this new barbarism. Mr Abbott said; “Australia will do what’s within our power to help. The Government has announced 4400 places in our refugee programme for people displaced by this conflict and has provide at least $5 million in additional aid. Australian military aircraft have been involved in humanitarian relief efforts; we are consulting with our allies abroad about what else might be done to help Iraqi people better to protect themselves”.


Mr Shahen received a lengthy and detailed response from the Minister for Immigration the Hon Scott Morrison MP, explaining his deep concerns by the ongoing conflict in countries such as Iraq and Syria and the humanitarian crises these have caused.


Mr Morrison assured Mr Shahen that the Australian officials have repeatedly raised the government’s concerns about the persecution of religious and other minorities, including Assyrians at senior levels with the Government of Iraq, and will look to make further representation after a new Iraqi Government is formed; Officials also meet regularly with Christian leaders in Baghdad, most recently on 14 July 2014 to hear their concerns.


Mr Morrison announced on 17 August 2014, that the government had set aside 4400 places in this year’s offshore Humanitarian programme for the resettlement of Iraq and Syrians who have fled conflict in their home countries.


During the month of October this year the AUA organised an extensive campaign requesting support from a large number of members of parliament, government agencies, Christian Faith & Freedom and other  Australian community organisations such as the Armenian, Coptic and Greek’s,  by writing directly to the Foreign Minister of Australia, asking her to raise the issue of ethnic cleansing facing the Assyrians and other minorities at the hands of the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria and the establishment of a safe haven for Assyrians in Northern Iraq,  during the United Nations Security Council meeting in November this year in Australia. A similar letter was sent to the Australian Ambassador in the Security Council, and to his deputy.


The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for foreign Affairs in her reply to the AUA said:

The Australian Government remains deeply concerned about the recent escalation of violence in Iraq, and the ongoing conflict in Syria and Iraq, and abuses including against minorities, by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and associated groups


The Minister also mentioned that Australia has raised the issue of establishment of a safe haven for Assyrians in Northern Iraq at the UN Security Council, including during the November Presidency of Australia.


In a previous reply, the Minster pointed out that Australia had contributed to the distribution of a number of statements in the Security Council of the United Nations about the persecution of minorities in Iraq, most recently in August 7, 2014. These statements strongly condemn ISIL crimes, and point directly to the plight of Christians in Mosul. The Government will continue to identify opportunities to raise the issue of religious minorities in Iraq, including the Assyrian Christians in international forums and the United Nations.


The Assyrian Universal Alliance commends the strenuous work carried out by the various members of parliament and organisations that brought the Assyrian issue to the attention of the Foreign Affairs and thanks the Minister For Foreign Affairs for bringing the Assyrian issue in the UN Security Council meeting in Australia. The AUA is cautiously optimistic and hopeful that these efforts will help to bring the Assyrian case to the world’s attention.


For more information about the letters received by the AUA please visit the following links:




Assyrian Universal Alliance

PO Box 34, Fairfield NSW 1860 Australia.


AUA web-site: