(AINA) -- A coalition of 16 Assyrian organizations from Europe, America and the Middle East has sent a letter to the Iraqi government, requesting that the rights of Assyrians be recognized and the new iraqi constitution be secular. The letter also asks for a guaramtee of cultural and political rights and the return of expropriated villages to Assyrians.
Here follows the text of the letter:
Coalition For A United, Democratic Iraq,
August 19, 2005
His Excellency, Mr. Jalal Talabani, President of the Republic of Iraq
The Honorable Dr. Ibrahim Al Jaafari, Prime Minister
The Honorable Dr. Hajim Mahdi Al Husni, President of the National Assembly
Samahat Al-Sheik Dr. Humam Al Hamoudi, Chariman of the Constitution Committee
Our people (Chaldean Assyrian Syriac) are the indigenous inhabitants of Iraq and our ancestors were the first to establish civilization and a political system beginning with the Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians. Our people continued to actively contribute to civilization during the Islamic period. The role of our people is well known in the translation of our culture as well as other cultures into Arabic through our Aramaic/Syriac language. This language remained the official language of the whole region for centuries.
After the fall of the political entity in Nineveh and Babylon, our people were exposed to all sorts of oppression, killing, assimilation, and forced migration culminating in the Simele Massacre of 1933 in which thousands of innocent elderly, women, and children were killed. These factors and ongoing prejudice, contributed to the forcible migration of many of our people. Demographically, our numbers became a small minority of approximately five per cent. This small figure ought not to be reason to ignore our national and human rights in our own country.
The Chaldean Assyrian Syriac communities in the Diaspora fraternally request the rights of our people be protected in the Constitution clearly and unambiguously so that our past tragedy will not be repeated, and so as to rebuild our future in the new Iraq alongside our fellow Iraqis based on principles of democracy, secularism, and human rights.
As a result we are requesting the incorporation of the following into the permanent Iraqi Constitution:
- Designate our united name and national identity in the Constitution as (Chaldean Assyrian Syriac).
- Recognize our people as the indigenous people of Iraq, and Syriac as the language and culture of the country and preserve it according to international standards on indigenous peoples.
- Guarantee that our political, cultural, and administrative rights as noted in the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) be established in the Nineveh Plain and in the areas in which we constitute a majority within whatever form of federalism is agreed upon.
- Guarantee that we are represented according to our percentage in the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government.
- Grant citizenship to any our people who have emigrated including their children and grandchildren and return citizenship to any Iraqis whose citizenship has been revoked since the establishment of Iraq most specifically including the victims of the 1933 massacre.
- Return lands and villages that were expropriated or forcibly taken because of various circumstances in Iraq to their rightful owners.
- Guarantee secularism and justice, equality, and civil rights for all.
We trust that these requests will be supported by you for inclusion in the permanent Iraqi Constitution.
With our regards.
Coordinator in United States of America
Mr. Abgar Maloul
E mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Coordinator in Europe
E mail Esho_y@hotmail.com
Coalition For A United, Democratic Iraq,
- Assyrian Democratic Organisation (ADO) -- In Exile
- Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM) -- Abroad sections
- Assyrian Patriotic Party (APP) - In Exile
- Assyrian Federation in Europe (ZAVD)
- Assyrian Youth Federation in Europe
- Tour Abdin Federation in Holland
- Assyrian Society of the United Kingdom
- Institut Assyrien d'Europe (INASE)
- Assyrian Federation in Sweden (ARS)
- Assyrian Youth Federation in Sweden (AUF)
- Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Association in Sweden (ACSA)
- Assyrian Women Federation in Sweden
- ChaldoAssyrian National Council of America (CANCA)
- Bet-Nahrain National Quest
- ChaldoAssyrian Syriac National Council of America
- Assyrian American National Federation (AANF)