AUA Americas and Partners Participate in the UN Forum on Minority Issues
Posted: Saturday, December 07, 2013 at 07:13 PM UT
GENEVA, Switzerland (AUA) — Representatives from Assyrian Universal Alliance Americas Chapter (AUA Americas), Miss. Jennifer Babaie and Mr. Alen Mirza, recently took part in discussions at the United Nations 6th Session of the Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva, Switzerland, on the 26 and 27 of November. The Forum on Minority Issues is a special procedure of the UN Human Rights Council aimed at identifying positive practices and enduring challenges in promoting the rights of national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities worldwide. This year's Forum focused on "Guaranteeing the rights of religious minorities" and was organized by Rita Itzhák, the UN's Independent Expert on Minority Issues.
In an effort to increase awareness about the human rights challenges facing Assyrians at the international level, the AUA Americas sponsored and facilitated the participation of other Assyrian political and human rights organizations from Iraq and Syria. Those in attendance included Mr. Louis Khno from the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization (HHRO) in Iraq, Mr. Mikhael Benjamin and Ms. Rinya Hanna from the Nineveh Center for Research and Development (NCRD) in Iraq and Mr. George Stifo from the Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO) in Syria.
Representatives from the aforementioned organizations also met with various UN officials and human rights experts to examine specific issues affecting Assyrians in the Middle East and identify opportunities for increased support. Concerns regarding massive displacement and lack of humanitarian assistance to Assyrians in Syria and Iraq were raised with representatives from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Challenges surrounding unjust personal status laws and violations of indigenous rights were discussed with officials from the UN's Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, respectively.
Additional information, including statements delivered by the participants during the Forum, will be accessible on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the coming weeks. The AUA Americas would like to extend its gratitude to the Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation for sponsoring the participation of those Assyrian organizations in attendance.