Once again, the WCA addressed the Interactive Dialogue with the UN Commission of inquiry on Syria at the 33rd Regular Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The first key message was to recognize, stop, punish and prevent acts of genocide committed by ISIS against Syria’s vulnerable minorities, such as the Arameans and Yazidis. Secondly, the ongoing attempts of the Kurdish YPG forces to forcefully Kurdify their fellow citizens in a self-declared region called ‘Rojava’ must be halted, not only because they fuel the conflict in the region and thus jeopardize the existence of minorities such as the Arameans who are on the brink of extinction in their homeland if the world does not act soon.
The WCA Delegate Jacob Harman from Sweden attracted the attention of the Commission, States and NGOs. He was assisted by Maria Manzano from Geneva and the WCA Syria Researcher from Sweden, Alexandra Tawaifi.
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Thank you, Mr. President.
The suffering of the civilian population of Syria must be brought to an end. The most alarming issue deserving the attention of this Council is the genocide by ISIS against vulnerable minorities, such as the Arameans and Yazidis. As noted before, experts, international institutions and world leaders have been convinced by the overwhelming evidence that ISIS is guilty of this crime of genocide.
ISIS uses various means of propaganda to encourage and glorify genocidal acts against minorities of their choosing. Even the 15th edition of its magazine Dabiq, titled “Break the Cross,” singles out Christians and justifies their killing. As the Commission is aware, our NGO is working with partners to soon submit a list of Aramean Christian victims by ISIS. It is an obligation to recognize, punish and prevent similar acts of genocide.
With respect to Northeast Syria, last year the Kurdish YPG forces attempted to impose Kurdish textbooks and Kurdish language courses on Aramean schools in Qamishli, which they have chosen as the capital of a self-declared federal region called ‘Rojava’ – a name which has no historical basis.
These last days, the YPG forces have renewed and intensified their efforts. They also plan to enter all our houses to count the households in the region. Who gave them this right to disrespect the human rights of their fellow citizens?
The Arameans keep rejecting these and other underreported ways of Kurdification of their historical lands and Aramaic language, but we stand alone. We urge the Commission, and in particular those states who work with and support the YPG, to address this alarming issue. Their personal goals do not contribute to peace in Syria, but threaten its territorial integrity and that of Syria’s neighbors. This, in effect, endangers the presence of the declining number of Arameans in their homeland.
If there is to be a future for the vulnerable minorities in Syria, they must be listened to, because they are on the brink of extinction. The means to secure their survival must be made a priority, before it is too late.
Finally, we condemn the exclusion of the voices of Syrian indigenous minorities from the peace talks that are shaping the future of our society and ancestral land.
Thank you, Mr. President.