The Hague, 18 Nov. (AKI) - A Dutch member of parliament Joel Voordewind, is urging the Netherlands to help Iraq's Assyrian Christians establish their own northern autonomous region and police force, the Assyrian International News Agency reported on Thursday.
Voordewind's move comes after a spate of deadly attacks targeting Iraq's Christian minority of approximately 500,000, which has left its members in fear of their lives. Most want to emigrate.
Before the 2003 United States-led invasion and occupation of the country, there were around 800,000 Christians in Iraq.
Around 100,000 Iraqi Christians who have been left homeless have taken shelter in northern Iraq in the Plain of Nineveh.
Kurds, who were persecuted by late Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein, were allowed to develop their own militia and police to defend themselves. They also have their own autonomous region in northern Iraq.
Voordewind, an MP for the Christian Union party, wants an Assyrian autonomous region to be governed and secured by its police and militia.
The region would be established in the Nineveh Plain in North Iraq, where around 100,000 Chistians have taken refuge since 2003.
"The three big groups, Kurds, Sunnis and Shias have their own police and militia, only the Assyrians do not have this," said Voordewind, quoted by AINA.
Voordewind is calling on the Kurds to help the Assyrians, arguing they should give the kind aid to Christian Assyirans which they have received from the international community.
"When I visited the Nineveh Plain in 2008, Assyrians showed me messages given to them from Muslims, saying 'you Christians dogs, leave or die,'" AINA cited Voordewind as saying.
"If we don't help them with an autonomous region," he adds, "they will leave the country."
Voordewind has asked the minister of defence to help the Assyrians establish an autonomous region.
\ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)
1: an ancient empire of Ashur
2: a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern
Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)
a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of
its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender
4: a democratic state that believes in the freedom of
religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the
principles of the United Nations Charter —
Ethnicity, Religion, Language
Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
\ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)
1: descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur
2: the Assyrians, although representing but one single
nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now
doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle
ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding
hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the
East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.
These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the
Christian Era. No one can coherently understand the Assyrians
as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church
from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly
difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for
in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control,
religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a
criterion of nationality.
the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya,
Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean,
Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu,
Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye,
Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. —
1: a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of
the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.
2: has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical
Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.