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Kurdish Regional Government Illegally Seizing Assyrian Lands in North Iraq
Assyrian Universal Alliance
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Sydney -- The Assyrian Universal Alliance-Australian Chapter received some ominous news from Assyrians living in the village of Kori Gavana regarding the Kurdish Regional Government's violation that has been instituted against their village. The village of Kori Gavana is an Assyrian Christian village located on the outskirts of Dohuk, North of Iraq, and has been in existence since the establishment of the State of Iraq in 1920s. During Saddam's reign, 500 government houses were built in this village and given to Kurdish families that were relocated from Sulaymania. This was part of Saddam's bigger scheme to forcefully change the demographic and the Christian characteristic of this village. As a result, the Christians in this village were threatened and intimidated, left feeling frightened and defenseless against the Kurds. Assyrians even ceased from sowing their rich agricultural lands (their only source of income), for the reason that they were warned by the Kurds that if anyone attempted to produce a crop, their farm and houses would be burned to the ground. This threatening menace was the fundamental reason why hundreds of Christian families left their homes in the village and migrated to neighbouring countries. On 17 September 2012, the Assyrian Universal Alliance -- Australian Chapter, were informed that the Department of Municipalities had notified all the Christian families in the village to meet with the head of the Municipality of Dohuk, at 10:00 am. In this meeting, the head of Dohuk Municipality informed all the people from the village who attended the meeting that the Government has decided to appropriate 88% of their lands and transfer the title to the government. The people of this village are being violated and victimized by the government and feel powerless and helpless against the KRG. These land grabs are achieved by terrorism and violence. The result is serious for the Assyrians. Firstly, they are deprived of their livelihood. Secondly, they are driven out of their ancestral lands. Thirdly they undermine the Assyrian entitlement to land reclaim and inflate the Kurdish claims. This unjustifiable act of confiscation is seen by the Assyrians as a blatant measure to "Kurdify" lands and properties and to claim rights thereon, albeit fraudulently and improperly. The Assyrian Universal Alliance-Australian Chapter condemns in the strongest terms possible these treacherous acts against the indigenous Assyrian people of Iraq by the Kurdish Regional Government which is engaging in discriminatory behaviour against Assyrians by illegally occupying and transferring Assyrian owned lands to Kurdish squatters. It raises concern that these acts are contrary to the obligations of national unity and civil peace that the faithful citizens of Iraq are seeking. This situation also poses a critical challenge for the international community, including the Australian Federal Government, which has been and will continue to be a targeted government for the settlement of refugees. We therefore call on the Australian Government and the international community to take immediate steps in reversing and preventing any further violations and abuse and demand that the Kurdish Regional Government immediately cease its unlawful aggression against the Assyrian Christian inhabitants of Kori Gavan and return the lands to their rightful owners.

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