No equal rights - Victims of injustice (fact-finding mission)
by Assyria Foundation - Netherlands. March 24 - April 4, 2008.
© Text: Attiya Gamri Tunc | © Photographs: Jaco Klamer and Attiya Gamri Tunc.
This report is made on behalf of the Assyria Foundation – Netherlands in order to have an objective analysis of the living conditions of the Assyrian people in Northern Iraq (Southern Assyria). This report is property of the Assyria Foundation - Netherlands.
I would like to thank all the persons who played a role in making this fact-finding mission a success, especially the persons in Northern Iraq, who entrusted me with their life stories. Also thanks to the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM), the Assyrian Patriottic Party (APP) Mr. Albert, the Assyrian Aid Society – Iraq, CAPNIE, the Red Cross – Erbil, UNHCR – Erbil and the Dutch Consul in Erbil, and Mr. Fuat Hussein, General Secretary of Mr. Massoud Barzani, and Mr. Kirkuki, member of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Special thanks goes to the Dutch delegation and specifically Member of Parliament of the Netherland of the Christian Union Party, Joël Voordewind for their heartwarming commitment.
I also wish to thank the following people for helping make the publication of this report possible: Mr. Ninos Warda, Dr. Matay Beth Arsan, and Mr. David Chibo. Thanks should also go to Mr. Jaco Klamer for kindly permitting the use of his photographs in this document.
The Assyria Foundation of the Netherlands visited Northern Iraq in April 2004 & 2006 for a fact-finding mission to assess the situation of the Assyrian Christians there. The Foundation organized another mission to Southern – Assyria (Northern Iraq) this year to meet with various Assyrians in the area, not just community representatives, but also the local population and the huge influx of Assyrian Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) so that we can make an objective analysis of the today’s situation of the Assyrian Christians in their homeland where they have been living on for more than 6,000 years.
The recent fact-finding mission to Northern Iraq examined the condition of the Assyrian Christians (of different church denominations: such as the Chaldean Catholic Church of Babylon, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Ancient Church of the East, the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and Syrian Catholic Church. Besides these traditional churches a significant number of Assyrian protestant churches exist such as the Assyrian Presbyterian Church and other Assyrian evangelical communities). Particularly in the areas of the Nineveh Plains, Mosul, and the provinces of Erbil and Dohuk (Nuhadra). This short report aims to present, along thematic lines, the conditions and political circumstances where this vulnerable minority finds itself, and what the wishes of the Assyrians in Iraq are in order to secure their future in their homeland.
Attiya Gamri Tunc
Provincial Parliamentarian, Dutch Labour Party (PvdA)