Fourth Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
United Nation, New York, May 16-27, 2005
The Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
United Nations, 2 UN Plaza
Room DC2 1772
Division for Social Policy and Development,
Department of Economic and social Affairs (DESA)
Submitted by: Indigenous Peoples Organization
Assyrian Universal Alliance
7055 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60626
Sen. John J. Nimrod, Secretary General
ASSYRIANS THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF IRAQ
The issue of who are the indigenous peoples of Iraq has become very important today. A new permanent Constitution will be voted for acceptance in August 2005. It will be followed by another general election of the members of Parliament prior to the end of the year. If there is going to be any recognition and special provisions for the indigenous peoples of Iraq, it must be provided for in the Permanent Constitution, which is to be adopted this year.
Special provisions or rights for the indigenous peoples have been acknowledged and provided for in a number of countries. We know the Aborigines of Australia, the indigenous people of that country, have special rights. The Japanese has also special rights and privileges for their indigenous people, the Ainu. We know that the Native Americans or American Indians also enjoy their right to special privileges. These are only a few examples of what has been done in some of the major countries of the world. Several more examples can be found among the members of the United Nations.
How do we know that the Assyrians, who are also known as Chaldeans and Syriac, are the indigenous people of Iraq? One only has to take a shovel and dig it into the ground and the only history found will be that of the Assyrians. There is no evidence of any other people or nation having lived in the land known today as Iraq. The museums of Iraq are jam-packed with artifacts and remains of the Assyrian civilizations. The Louvre in France, the British Museum, the Berlin Museum as well as the Oriental Institute of Chicago are the evidence of the history of the Assyrian civilization, which were found in Iraq. One needs to look no further to learn of the major contributions of the Assyrians to our modern world.
In light of these historical facts and the overwhelming proofs that the Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriac of Iraq and surrounding territories are beyond any doubts the indigenous people of Iraq.
It is therefore demanded that the Assyrians be provided an area in the Nineveh Plains and extending northwards around Dohouk to the Kabour area at Dohouk. This area borders the countries of Syria and Turkey. The Assyrians should be allowed constitutionally to elect their own officials, which would directly participate within and under the government of Iraq.
The Assyrians must be able to preserve their customs, traditions, religion and language. There must be a secular government with no state-religion if the people of Iraq are to live in peace. We have seen what happens with killings, destruction of religious sites, discrimination and persecution if a state-religion becomes the law of the land.
Freedom must be available to all citizens of Iraq. Democracy does not happen over night and freedom can only prevail in a country if there is law and order and equality for all citizens. This is the only way that there can be respect for the rights of all citizens of a country, including the rights of the indigenous Assyrians of Iraq.
May 18, 2005