4-5-2009: Aramean blood continues to flow in Iraq…
2-9-2008: Again two Arameans killed in Iraq
Killing of Priest Yusuf Adel Abudi
Killing of Mgr. Faraj Raho
Killing of Priest Ragied Aziz Gannie
Killing of Priest Paulus Iskandar
12-10-2006: Aramean priest Iskandar beheaded in Mosul (Iraq)
Killing of Isoh Majeed Hadaya
Aramean people: Aramean people (not to be confused with ‘Armenians’) speak Aramaic, the language spoken by Abraham, Moses and Jesus. They are the indigenous people of what was called in ancient times Aram- Nahrin, in our days it is called ‘Mesopotamia’.
Some Arameans today identify themselves with “Assyrians”, because of the spiritual colonial hate generating activities of the Western missionaries and diplomats in the Middle-East in 16th and 19th centuries. Other Arameans became known as “Chaldeans”. However all of them are Arameans.
Aram-Naharaim attends the annual meeting of the UN Expert Mechanism On the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Statement on the situation of the Aramean people in Syria, Turkey and Iraq
Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Geneva, Switzerland: 10 – 14 August 2009
Read Out Loud: 12-8-2009
Expanded version of the Oral statement:
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Aramean Indigenous Nation of Turkey, Iraq and Syria.
Oral Statement under agenda Item 4. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the themes
(a) Implementation of the Declaration at the regional and national levels
(b) Adjudication, remedies, repatriation, redress and compensation
After the coming of Jesus Christ, the Arameans (including “Assyrians” and Chaldeans) of Aram-Naharaim accepted the teachings of Christ and established together with the apostles of Jesus and the converted Jews, the Syrian Church of Antioch, the second Patriarchy after Jerusalem, where for the first time the followers of Jesus Christ were called Christians (Acts 11:26). This church was the mother of all the Churches and the first Church established outside Israel, whose Patriarch currently resides in Damascus, Syria.
After they had embraced Christianity, the Semitic Arameans underwent a change of name and were known as “Syrians” , in order to be distinguished from the Arameans who were not converted. This should however, not be confused with the current Syrian Arabs. It is only after the conquering of Mesopotamia that the Arabian invaders adopted the “Syrian” name. The consequence was that the real Syrians (i.e. Arameans) became strangers in their own indigenous lands.
The Arameans who did not convert to Christianity, later converted to other religions such as Islam. Consequently they have adopted Arabic as their language and hence were hence ‘Arabised’ which caused to forgot their Aramean origin. Today millions of these Arameans identify themselves as “Arabs”.
I will briefly deal with redress, remedies, compensation and implementation of the Declaration in these countries related to the situation of our people.
The Situation of the Aramean nation of Iraq: Redress, Remedies and Compensation
The terrible situation in Iraq is almost daily news.  However, the situation of the Aramean indigenous nation is even worse. The Arameans, also known as “Assyrians” or Chaldeans,  do not have their own militia to defend themselves and therefore are an easy target for the forces of fanaticism and intolerance. Bombardments of the Aramean sanctuaries, raping, attacking and killing of the Aramean women and girls and killing of the Aramean spiritual leaders  have caused a mass exodus of the Arameans to countries like Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the West. In addition, thousands of them have been displaced within Iraq. Since 2004, 59 Aramean Churches have been targeted by the forces of fanaticism and bloodshed. It is clear Madam Chairperson that these horrible events will not stimulate our people to return to Iraq, let alone to talk about compensation and redress.
These forces of darkness seem to have prepared a comprehensive Grand Plan to ethically cleanse Iraq of its indigenous Aramean inhabitants. They apply a very effective formula to get rid of ‘unwanted’ and ‘unclean’ ones and that is: kill the leaders and then the people will leave the country or the area you wish to ethnically cleanse.
Since 2006 we observe a certain pattern in the killing of the Aramean leaders, resulting in an exodus of the Indigenous Aramean people of Aram-Nahrin. As a consequence, those who wish to ethnically cleanse Aram-Nahrin of its original inhabitants seem to be gradually succeeding in their plan.
We would like to mention few more examples to explain that remedies are very difficult in this complex area, namely: On September 22, 2006 the West- Aramean Syrian Catholic Isoh Majeed Hadaya was brutally killed in the village of Baghdeda, situated in the northern Iraq.  On 12th of October 2006 the West- Aramean Syrian Orthodox Priest Paulus Iskandar  was brutally slaughtered, and his body was cut in pieces, in Mosul. On 6th of June 2007, the East- Aramean Chaldean priest Raggied Aziz Gannie  was brutally killed in Mosul. On 13th of March 2008 the East- Aramean Chaldean bishop Faraj Rahho  was killed in Mosul. On 5th of April 2008 the West- Aramean Syrian Orthodox Priest Yousef Adel Abudi  was killed in Baghdad.
The Aramean indigenous people of Iraq consist of various denominations and are historical termed as “West- Arameans” and “East- Arameans”, namely:
The West- Aramean Syrian Orthodox
The West- Aramean Syrian Catholics
The West- Aramean Melkites
The East- Aramean Nestorian Chaldeans
The East- Aramean Nestorian Assyrians
Although exact numbers are unknown, however before 2003, there were around 800.000 Arameans in Iraq. Their number is unfortunately reduced to 400.000 or even less.
The terms “East- “ and “West- Arameans” go back to the time of early Christianity where the Aramean indigenous nation was geographically termed as such. Roughly speaking the Euphrates River was the border. Those Arameans living Eastern of Euphrates, thus living in Persia, were termed “East- Arameans” and those living Western of Euphrates, thus in Roman Empire, were called “Western- Arameans”.
The designations “Chaldeans” and “Assyrians” for the eastern Arameans go back to the Western colonial activities of the 16th (France + Catholic missionaries) and 19th (Great Britain + Anglican missionaries) centuries. The ecclesiastical and political Western powers closely worked together and setup camps  in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran where the Aramean children were “educated” through which they were completely uprooted from their Aramean origin. They thereby planted a horrible form of fanaticism in their hearts which caused them to display an immense aversion to their Aramean origin.
In the year 1553 the Western Catholic missionaries together with France brainwashed a part of the East- Aramean clergy by means of bribery to call themselves “Chaldeans” with the result that the Aramaic language became known as “Chaldean” language and a part of the Aramean nation became known as “Chaldean” nation in some parts of the Western literature, the first attack on the Aramean heritage.
As a result of mutual hatred and competition between the Western Catholics and Protestants, in the late 19th century the same process was repeated, this time by the Anglican missionaries and Great Britain, and the other part of the East- Aramean “Nestorian” tribes of Hakkari (bordering Turkey and Iraq) and Urmia (Iran) to call themselves "Assyrians"- a term which was used purely geographically and only applied to the "Nestorians". The result was that Aramaic became known as “Assyrian” language and the Aramean nation as the “Assyrian” nation- this was the second and more severe attack on the Aramean heritage- a kind of spiritual genocide. 
Obviously the goal of the forces of darkness is to ethnically cleanse Iraq of its Aramean indigenous nation and to make remedies impossible. Therefore, to thwart the plans of these forces, we ask for your support in the following points:
1. We call upon the Iraqi government to do more to protect  the remaining Arameans in Iraq and to redress the losses of the displaced Arameans and other groups, preferably under UN supervision.
2. We call upon the Iraqi government to facilitate substantial conditions for the Arameans to return to Iraq and offer them compensation and security guaranties, including protection of their sanctuaries.
Because of terror and killings in the Baghdad area since 2004, many Arameans were forced either to flee out of the country or to move to the relative safe north of Iraq, leaving behind their home and hearth. Their houses were confiscated, plundered and in many cases burned down. In the north however there is no work, no future prospective and the indigenous Arameans are at the mercy of those who never heard of “peace” and “respect”. For these reasons some of these displaced Arameans decided to go back to Baghdad. Unfortunately, their situation is miserable. In many cases their homes are burned or occupied. There is no aid, the women and children suffer terribly, and there is no work. Currently, 1500 Aramean families returned to Baghdad and Mosul and the only help they get is the help from the various Aramean churches, which is just a drop in the ocean.
3. To implement the UN Declaration on indigenous peoples and recognize the Aramean people as the indigenous nation of Iraq. 
In the constitution of Iraq the Aramean Indigenous nation of Aram-Nahrin are excluded. Instead, the colonial spiritual terms “Assyrians” (Great Britain) and Chaldeans (France) are mentioned.
The most exotic fabricated term to designate the Aramean nation has recently been proposed in the draft-constitution of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in which our nation is being termed as “Chaldean – Syrian- Assyrian”. This is a flagrant violation and a vivid attempt of cultural extermination of the Aramean indigenous nation who has been present in the area of Upper- Mesopotamia, which also was called Paddan- Aram  in ancient time since time immemorial. Such an artificial invented name for the Aramean indigenous nation is nothing but continuation and approval of the evil colonial Western policy of extermination.
The situation of the Arameans of Turkey: Implementation of the Declaration, redress
Turkey was one of the countries which voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous peoples. Unfortunately, our nation is not recognized as distinct ethnic minority in Turkey, let alone to implement the UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.
The Aramean Christian indigenous nation is peaceful-minded and contrary to others, though they are the original inhabitants of this part of the world, they never made any territorial claims or aspirations, as other nations have done. Our nation instead has tried to live in peace, respect and dignity with everybody in the Middle East; and always respected the law of the countries in which they reside.
If one looks for example at the history of Turkey whether during the time of Republic or throughout the era of Ottoman Empire, it will undisputedly became crystal clear that the Aramean nation, in Turkey known as “Suryaniler”, were always faithful citizens and never resorted to the path of intolerance, fanaticism and violent uprising. Unfortunately this Aramean policy of respect and brotherhood has not been rewarded nor appreciated by Turkey. Very briefly, the history of the Aramean indigenous nation in Turkey can be described as follows: exclusion, extortion, discrimination, extermination and ethnic cleansing that culminated in the horrible events of 1915 whereby around 600.000 Arameans of different denominations were brutally slaughtered.  To further explain this, we draw your attention to recent law-suits since November 2008 in which the Turkish government along with the three surrounding Islamic Kurdish villages attempt to confiscate the indigenous land of the Saint Gabriel Aramean Monastery in the south-eastern part of Turkey. 
This ancient monastery, build in 397 AD, and is of the most precious historical pearls of the Aramean nation in Tur Abdin which is still in operation. In the course of the time this monastery managed to deliver erudite, pious and devoted Aramean scholars and teachers. All of these people were taught and educated in our sacred Aramaic language, the language spoken by Abraham, Moses and Jesus.
The claim made by the government and the three villages, Madam Chairperson, is that the monastery has taken land which does not belong to it. But this is totally baseless claim! A simple study of the historical facts and reality will make very clear that the Arameans have been in this part of the world for thousands of years, long before the appearance of those who now consider themselves as the rightful owners of this area and totally ignore the rights of the Indigenous Aramean nation.
Although the court in Tur Abdin on May 22, 2009 rejected the claim of the villages, yet on 24th of June 2009 it ruled in favour of the governments claim that the monastery had unlawfully taken the forest-land which surrounds the monastery.
The entire case was set into motion in 2008 in the framework of the accession negotiations of Turkey with European Union. Because of this the Land Registry General Directorate redefined the boundaries of the property of the Saint Gabriel Monastery. This situation was exploited by the Turkish government and surrounding Kurdish villages, as good “legal” excuses, trying to seize the indigenous land belonging to the monastery since hundreds of years.
In order to protect the monastery, the Religious Foundation of the monastery had built a protective wall around it. The three surroundings villages want this wall to be removed, because, since they claim, the property has been used as grazing for their livestock.
Since the start of the law-suits many outrageous allegations and claims were made against this ancient sanctuary. Out of all the allegations, finally four particular court cases were formulated as follows:
1. The case of the three surrounding villages: In august 2008the Land Registry General Directorate had granted more than 100 hectares of the monastery land to the villages. Of course the monastery could not accept that its land was being confiscated. Consequently, the three surrounding villages appealed to the court in Midyat, Tur Abdin (the first courts case took place at the court in Midyat on August 13, 2008)
2. The Case of Forestry Department: This strange terminology has been used by the Forestry Department to try to confiscate land of the monastery within and outside the protective wall which has been termed as “Forestry” or “woodland”. This is around 33 hectares of land. Of course the Monastery appealed against the unlawful confiscation of its property.
3. The Case of Treasury Department Lands claim: The Treasury Department claims about 24 hectares of the monastery’s property.
4. The case against the Monastery Foundation: The Treasury Department claims that the monastery Foundation has violated the forestry law by “intentional building” of a protective wall around the monastery, thereby “confiscating” public land.
It is indeed very detrimental and is clear evidence of lack of respect for human and indigenous rights to try to confiscate the Aramean indigenous lands under the pretext of “independent legal system” and “European demands”.
On 22 May, 2009, the Court in Midyat rejected the claim of the villages and ruled in the favour of the Monastery and overruled the initial decision by The Land Registry General Directorate which had granted around 110 hectares of land to the villages.
However, on 24 June, 2009, the Court ruled in favour of the Forestry Department by affirming its claim. On the other hand, as to the claim of the Treasury Department, the court ruled in favour of the monastery.
The verdict of the court to rule in favour of the Forestry Department is outrageous and clearly a political decision which is a violation against the indigenous rights of the Aramean people in the lands of their forefathers. It is nothing else than daylight-robbery. The case against the monastery foundation is postponed to the 9th of September 2009.
These languishing law-suits would have been unnecessary, if Turkey had simply applied article 26 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous peoples.
Therefore we ask your support in the following points:
1. That Turkey should immediately implement the UN Declaration and recognize the Aramean nation as the indigenous nation of Turkey and stop with these unnecessary and detrimental law-suits.
2. That Turkey should facilitate conditions, under UN monitoring, for the Arameans who wish to return to the lands of the forefathers and redress their losses, including their indigenous land rights.
3. That Turkey should provide adequate resources and culturally relevant programs, in agreement with the implementation of the UN Declaration, to promote the Aramean cultures, customs and traditions, including free teaching of Aramaic language and usage of Aramean flag.
The situation of the Arameans of Syria: Implementation of the Declaration
Syria is the only country in the middle-east that is actively promoting our sacred Aramaic language; something which we applaud. However the owners of Aramaic, namely the indigenous Aramean people are not recognized, while Syria voted in favour of UN Declaration On Indigenous peoples. In addition the Aramean culture and traditions are being suppressed with the results that the Arameans of Syria are subjected to assimilation and ‘Arabisation.  For this reason, we ask your support in the following points:
1. That Syria should implement the declaration and recognize our nation as the indigenous nation of Syria.
2. That Syria provide adequate resources and culturally relevant programs, in agreement with the implementation of the Declaration, to promote the Aramean cultures, customs and traditions, including usage of Aramean flag
Arameans of Aram-Naharaim Organisation
P.O. Box 178
7550 AD, Hengelo(Ov.); Netherlands; E-mail: email@example.com
 Ethnically, the Arameans are not related to Armenians. The Arameans speak Aramaic language, while the Armenians speak a different language. There are however also similarities between Arameans and Aramenians:
- They both became victim of the genocide of 1915
(See more on this genocide: http://www.aramnahrin.org/English/ArameanGenocide.htm)
- They share the same Orthodox faith. The Arameans, the Armenians and the Copts of Egypt share the same Orthodox Christian doctrine and are called “Oriental Orthodox Churches”.
 More on terms ‘Aram-Nahrin’, ‘Aram-Naharaim’, ‘Paddan-Aram’ and ‘Tur Abdin’ :
 See also our statement of 2006 made at the last session of the Working Group on the Indigenous Populations.
 The term “Assyrian” and Chaldeans go back to the Western colonial intervention in the 16th and 19th centuries. A kind of spiritual genocide was committed on the Aramean nation which factually accelerated their down fall in the Middle-East. More on this colonial activities:
 Regarding the protection of the Aramean leaders, we sent on 22nd of April 2008 a letter to the Iraqi Government: http://www.iraqichristians.org/English/ArameanOrganisations_Protection_leaders_Iraq_25_4_2008.htm
See also our letter to the Secretary General of United Nations: http://www.iraqichristians.org/English/ArameansOrganisations_UN_Iraq_Help_10_5_2008.htm
 http://www.aramnahrin.org/English/index_en.htm; please check with the right column of our website and scroll down to view the victims
 The United Nations special envoy to Iraq, Mr. Ad Melkert “called for a redoubling of efforts” to protect the Arameans and other vulnerable groups: http://www.iraqichristians.info/English/UN_Envoy_Extra_Protection_Arameans_Iraq_14_7_2009.htm
 On 29th of August 2007 we sent a letter together with the Aramean bishops to the Iraqi government in which we asked amongst others for the recognition of the Aramean people of Iraq. http://www.iraqichristians.org/English/Letter_Iraqi_Government_29_8_2007.htm
 See the Aramean genocide: http://www.aramnahrin.org/English/ArameanGenocide.htm
 Regarding this unnecessary law-suits, we sent a letter to the Prime Minister and President of the Republic of Turkey:
 See our letter we recently sent to the President of Syria Mr. Bashar Al- Assad on this issue:
Arameans of Syria: http://www.aramnahrin.org/English/Arameans_Of_Syria.htm
Arameans of Iraq: http://www.aramnahrin.org/English/iraqichristians.htm
Did you as a Aramean learn something from this article? Do you want to help the Aramean indigenous people? Please click on these links and help us:
Do you as a Aramean hate corruption and favoritism? Do you think that this had caused our nation into Diaspora? Do you want to do something against it? Are you courageous? Welcome than to Aram-Naharaim
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