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Meeting With Iraqi Official about the plight of Assyrians

October 6, 2009

(AINA) -- Yonathan Betkolia, the Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, who is also the Assyrian representative in the Iranian Parliament, met with with Iyad al-Samarrai, the Speaker for the Iraqi Council of Representatives, to discuss the precarious and deteriorating condition of the Assyrians of Iraq. Attacks, kidnappings, murder and church bombings continue unabated (report). It is estimated that nearly 50% of Assyrians have fled the country to Jordan and Syria, and a large percentage have been internally displaced from Baghdad to North Iraq.

yonatam betkolia

Mr. Betkolia sent a letter to Mr. al-Samarrai outlining actions that Iraq should take to protect the indigenous Assyrian population of Iraq.

The text of that letter follows:

The Hon. Iyad al-Samarrai
Office of the Speaker
Iraqi Council of Representatives
Baghdad, Iraq

Dear Mr. Speaker,

I am writing this letter on behalf of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) requesting your attention and urgent intervention regarding the prevailing situation of Assyrians of Iraq. As a matter of urgency and importance, the Assyrian Universal Alliance calls on the Iraqi government to consider the prerequisite demands of our people as follows:

  1. As the indigenous and original people of Iraq, and as promulgated under article 121 of the Iraqi constitution, the Assyrian people of Iraq are entitled to an Assyrian autonomous region or an Assyrian province encompassing the Assyrian ancestral lands, located between the Greater Zab and Tigris rivers with international borders to the north and west, as an integral part of the Federal Republic of Iraq. This newly created Assyrian region shall be administrated and protected by the Assyrians under the jurisdiction of the central government of Iraq
  1. Establishing this autonomous region will have many benefits for Iraq including, but not limited to, the following:

    1. Provide direct economic assistance for all necessary and sufficient reconstruction aid equitably, whereby the Assyrians' share is distributed directly to them through the region's Assyria Provincial Assembly.
    2. Enable the government of Iraq to further assist the Assyrians of Iraq through providing jobs to them by establishing and funding an Assyrian security force, as part of Iraq's national security or police force, to help maintain the Assyrian towns and villages, protecting them from harassment and terrorist attacks.
    3. Help to address the desperate situation and humanitarian needs of the Assyrian refugees displaced in Iraq's northern region and in the neighboring Arab countries.
    4. Enable Iraq to retain and promote the cultural wealth and heritage it has through its indigenous Assyrians.
    5. Shine a positive light on the government of Iraq for securing the human rights of its people as it continues to usher in and encourage the new era of liberty, pluralism, and equality in Iraq.
  2. We appeal to the Iraqi Council of Representatives to amend the constitution of Iraq to state a quota for Assyrians based on the Iraqi census of 1957, guaranteeing a minimum of five seats in Iraq's Council of Representatives and the government through Assyrian representatives elected by Assyrians.
  3. We appeal to the Iraqi Council of Representatives to provision the necessary mechanism through which all Iraqis residing outside of Iraq have the opportunity to participate in Iraq's elections remotely.

I thank you in advance for your efforts to safeguard the interests of Assyrians, who are an integral and ancient component of Iraq, and eagerly await your positive actions to support the rights of our people in our ancestral home, Iraq.

Sincerely yours,

Yonathan Betkolia
Secretary General
Assyrian Universal Alliance


A simple way to help
the embattled Christians of Iraq

click here; Tell Congress to Stabilize and Support the Assyrian Community in the Nineveh Plains


October = Teeshreen I

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