Assyrian delegation meeting with Australian officials March 2015

Sydney – 20 March 2015

On Thursday, 19 March 2015, a delegation headed by Mr. Hermiz Shahen, Deputy Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA), Mr. David M. David , President of the Assyrian Australian National Federation, Mrs. Suzy David , AUA senior advisor and Former Deputy Secretary General, held meetings with the Australian government officials in Canberra. The AUA invited Mr. Emmanuel Khoshaba, the Secretary General of the Assyrian Patriotic Party currently visiting Australia from Iraq to join the delegation. The delegates were welcomed by the Hon. Chris Bowen MP, Shadow Treasurer, he organised a special consultation with The Honorable Richard Marles MP, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.

The delegation expressed the concerns of Australian Assyrians, about the future of the Christian Assyrians, the original and indigenous people of Iraq & Syria, and their plight in both countries. Thedelegation requested urgent attention to the escalating developments in Syria most recently due to the seizure of 35 Assyrian villages by the ISIS, stretching over 80 kilometres west from Hassaka province to Ras al-Ain, on the Khabour River in the northeast Syria, on Tuesday, February 23, 2015. Up to 300 Assyrians, mainly women and children were captured. More than an estimated 3000 Assyrians fled from their villages and are now in sheltered in Hassaka and Qamishli. Many of these captives’ families have escaped hostage situations and are on the run to nearby Lebanon and Iraq.

The delegation requested that the Australian government assist in facilitating a program to protect those families stranded in Al-Hassaka.

The delegation also met separately with Mr. Murray Hansen, Chief of Staff, for the Minister for Foreign Affairs. As a matter of urgency and importance, the Assyrian delegation called upon the Australian Government to endorse and support a number of important issues, including establishment a self-governed safe haven for the Assyrian people and preserve the Nineveh Plain in Iraq for the Indigenous Assyrians and other Christian minority groups in the area.
Mr. Shahen thanked all the government officials for the attention given to the Assyrian plea, unrelenting commitment to the Assyrian cause and their outstanding efforts over the years in raising the Assyrian case with the Australian government.

Assyrian Universal Alliance
PO Box 34, Fairfield NSW 1860 Australia.
E-mail: auaaustralia@bigpond.com