WCA to UN: Arameans in Syria and Iraq on Brink of Extinction

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The WCA gave a statement in Geneva during the General Debate of the 33rd Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council. It emphasized that the indigenous Aramean people of Syria and Iraq are facing excintion and that the world needs to speak up and prevent such a humanitarian disaster from happening. The WCA Delegate Alexandra Tawaifi from Sweden presented the statement. The other WCA Delegates are Maria Manzano from Geneva and Jacob Harman from Sweden.


Alexandra Tawaifi delivering the statement of the WCA during the UN Human Rights Council General Debate under item 4.
The WCA Delegates Maria Manzano and Jacob Harman are seated behind Ms. Tawaifi.

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Thank you, Mr. President.

We take this opportunity to urge the Human Rights Council and the Commission of Inquiry to condemn ISIS’ acts of genocide against Syria’s indigenous Aramean population on equal footing with other targeted ethnic and religious minorities.

The most recent example of the incitement to genocidal acts towards the eradication of Christians in the self-proclaimed caliphate has been widely promoted in ISIS’ magazine Dabiq. In its 15th issue entitled “Break the Cross,” it reveals the message of hatred against Christians, justifying their killings on a massive scale and cleansing the territory from all disbelievers.

In the last years, acts of terror and destruction of Christian schools, residential concentrations and hospitals have forced Christians to evacuate many cities, including Aleppo, Raqqa, Sadad and Homs.

Christians and others have been subjected to killings and forced conversions under death threats. Women and girls have been abducted from their families, moving them into ISIS territory as sex slaves and brides. There is a long list of violations of their human rights and dignity that cannot be ignored.

Our religious leaders have been subjected to threats and abductions, including our 2 Archbishops of Aleppo. In June of this year, we brought to the attention of this Council the most recent terrorist attacks in Qamishli concerning a failed attempt to assassinate the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch and hundreds of Arameans, which resulted in the deaths of 2 Arameans and 5 injured.

Arameans as a distinct minority group have been oppressed by many parties in the region. Most recently by the ongoing attempts of the Kurdish YPG forces to impose Kurdish textbooks and their language in Aramean schools. There are more underreported cases of constant threats to Aramean families that have forced them to flee for the sake of their children´s safety and future.

We condemn the destruction of the cultural heritage of the Aramean people in Syria and Iraq amounting to war crimes. The seizure and burning of at least 30 churches in the Mosul province is just one example.

This Council must put all efforts once and for all to demand a permanent cessation of hostilities. We plead with Member States to take the necessary steps to ensure the survival of the civilian population, attending with due priority the assurance of their security and essential goods to prevent the extinction of Syria’s indigenous populations.

Thank you, Mr. President.


Click here to download the statement in PDF.