Geneva (AINA) — On Friday, March 20th the Assyrian Aid Society of Iraq brought together a robust showing of Permanent Missions to the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, including the United States, the Russian Federation, Iraq, the United Kingdom, Armenia, Ireland and Canada, among others. Numerous NGOs were also present, including the Assyrian Universal Alliance Americas Chapter, the Assyrian Human Rights Network, the Nineveh Center for Research and Development, the Assyrian Writers Union, the World Evangelical Alliance and the International Association-International Gulf Organization. The Assyrian Democratic Movement was also present at this event.
The critical issue addressed is the reality that UN Human Rights Council processes are too slow moving to address the immediacy of genocidal violence facing Yazidis and Assyrians as well as the humanitarian needs of these groups. Assyrians and Yazidis will not survive while the UN Human Rights Council ‘talks.’ Using its decades of delivering humanitarian relief to the area’s most afflicted populations, the Assyrian Aid Society of Iraq brought together speakers who put the issue to those missions with the power and interest to change ‘business as usual’ and recognize that change is needed to save Assyrians and Yazidis.
The Republic of Armenia asserted its ongoing commitment to the preservation of Assyrians and other vulnerable minorities and to profile its resolution on genocide prevention. The U.S. and UK also made formal interventions restating their commitment and activities geared to the preservation of minorities but unable to indicate whether such concern will translate into notable action at the UN Human Rights Council. The Russian Federation was unable to make its formal intervention due to time constraints. However, the Assyrian Aid Society expressed appreciation for Russia’s earlier efforts through its Joint Statement adopted by 62 other missions calling for the preservation of ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East.
The Assyrian Aid Society also expressed special thanks to the Assyrian Church of the East Diocese of Europe, H.G. Mar Odisho Oraham, whose attendance at the UNHRC was graciously facilitated by the World Evangelical Alliance. H.G. Mar Odisho’s linking of Assyrian suffering throughout history into the present made a deep impression on all attendees. Also, Giorgees Hanna Mashko, Assyrian Democratic Movement Director for Mid Europe, highlighted the desperate plight of the Assyrians and outlined the necessary solutions.
Special Note: This event marks the first time in Geneva that UN representatives of permanent missions, delegates and attendees heard the Assyrian language spoken in full presentation with Assyrian-to-English and Assyrian-to-Arabic translation. Mr. Osama Edward translated to English and Mr. Giorgees Mashko translated to Arabic.