There is no God but Liberty; our conscience its messenger
Sunday, April 25, 2004

Assyrians Finally Granted a Modicum of Dignity by International Community

It is not as if I have any respect for the Orwellian farce that is the UN where dictators, kleptocrats, mass murderers, and apologists for terror meet to decide how to make the words "human rights" and "international law" nothing less than a farce..... Yet, this is indeed good news, that the UN has recognized the plight of the Assyrians, the indigenous people of Iraq who have suffered tremendously from the mass murder of Baathism and the silence of Baathism's apologists in Washington DC

Dr. Eden Naby
Harvard University

The voice of the Assyrians joined that of other indigenous people in Geneva this spring. On April 3, 2004, the United Nations released a press statement which contained proceedings of the session in Geneva of a the section of the UNHCHR related to Indigenous People. At this session, three entities dealing with indigenous rights addressed the Commission on Human Rights:

- The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Indigenous People
- Representatives of three UN mechanisms on Human Rights of Indigenous People
- Representatives of about twenty regional or international NGOs concerned with human rights

No Assyrian organizations have succeeded in gaining recognition as NGOs with the right to address any part of the United Nations directly except the Syriac Universal Alliance. In the past, our efforts in this direction have been blocked by the former government of Iraq as well as our own disorganization. This means
that our voice is rarely heard in international bodies where our years of abuse in the Middle East might create conditions for informative discussion.

Thanks, however, to the persistence of the Assyrian Academic Society, and its determination to establish a cooperative relationship with other organizations and individuals, the Brussels-based Human Rights without Frontiers (HRWF), a member of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, spoke on our community's behalf in Geneva, both publicly and in a pre-arranged meeting with the Special Rapporteur on Iraq.

This advocacy work, spearheaded by the Assyrian Academic Society, needs the support of all of us who are frustrated about our ability to affect political developments. In Diaspora, we can do more than bite our nails and each other. We can take political steps that will lead to our "knocking on the door of the White House" and other sources of political power. Here is the e-mail address of the Assyrian Academic Society when you too are ready to do something more than lament:

The statement that the HRWF made on behalf of our community was delivered by Dr. Nadja Milanova. It was the only statement about any situation in the Middle East. She spoke eloquently to our problem as the indigenous people of Iraq, having conducted a research trip to Iraq at the time of the Baghdad conference in October 2003. She also has worked closely in the dissemination of the report on the ChaldoAssyrians of Iraq (February 2004). For the report of HRWF following the trip in 2003, click here.

Nadja Milanova of International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, said indigenous peoples could be defined as conquered descendants of earlier inhabitants of a region who lived mainly in conformity with traditional social, economic and cultural customs that were sharply distinct from those of dominant groups. The attention of the Commission should be drawn to the ChaldoAssyrian community of Iraq in this context. The rights of the small ethnic and religious communities of Iraq had received very little attention, and today were being set aside in the effort to create major ethnic power enclaves. The Commission should request the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of indigenous peoples and the Working Group on indigenous populations to monitor and report on developments in Iraq, and expand the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Iraq to address issues stemming from the ethnic and religious diversity of Iraq.

posted at 8:45 PM by Jonathan

Murder and Silence

One would expect the leading Arab-American organization to take a stand against the human rights abuses of Arabs. Well, they do, if you consider having to wait in line at the airport for a security check a human rights abuse. Unfortunately, as the website for the ADC once again shows, the leading voices of Arab-America have much to say about Israel, but nothing to say when Iraqi schoolchildren are murdered in Basra by al-Qaeda. Then again, when did the ADC care about Iraqis? It isn't as if anyone at the ADC as far as I know has publically and unequivocably condemned Saddam's mass murder of Assyrians, Kurds, and Turkmen.

posted at 8:38 PM by Jonathan

Organs of Baath Security to Imprison Leading Syrian pro-Democracy Activist

This is absolutely unacceptable, UNACCEPTABLE. Aktham Naisa will likely die in prison if he is not released. The "judges" of the Syrian State Supreme Security Court should be well advised that various Syrian dissident groups are well aware of their identity and residence. When Assad's regime falls, true justice will be rendered.

posted at 2:27 PM by Oubai

The French Have a Point

All nations ought to follow France's lead when it comes to this.

posted at 12:23 PM by Oubai

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