ARAMEAN PEOPLE AND CRIMES AGAINST
THIS SEMITIC PEOPLE
United Nations | 7th Session of the Minority Issues Forum
Shlomo ahay w-ahwotho myaqre,
My name is Shadi Khaloul, I am
an Aramean Christian from Israel. I am a member of the Syriac Maronite
Church, but the Aramean people also consist of the Syriac Orthodox,
Syriac Catholic, Chaldean, ‘Nestorian’ and Melkite churches.
On behalf of the Aramean people,
who are the natives of Southeast Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, our
NGO comes once again to this distinguished forum to ask the United
Nations and its Member States for recognition in three significant ways.
1. Recognition of violence and
crimes of the last 100 years
Allow me to remind the world of
some chilling facts regarding the Aramean Christians:
In Turkey, more than 500,000
were murdered and expelled since 1895.
From Lebanon, more than 1,5
million were killed and expelled since 1860.
In Iraq, more than 1 million
were forced to leave since 2003.
In Syria, almost a million have
escaped their homeland since 2011.
All this happened largely at the
hands of Turkish, Kurdish and Arab armed forces. This resulted in the
near total destruction of the Aramean people and its rich cultural
2. Recognition and action in
relation to ongoing crimes
History is repeating itself and
it appears that it never really stopped.
In Syria and Iraq we see a
continuation of the crimes by Muslim militants against the Aramean
Christians such as killings, tortures, beheadings, crucifixions and
kidnappings. The barbarism of these terrorist groups, who receive major
funding from certain UN Member States, has caused a new mass exodus.
3. Recognition of our people by
Israel and beyond
Mr. President, my own democratic
country of Israel recently recognized the Arameans as an ethnic
minority. This has enabled me and my children to correct our identity
cards and to register ourselves as “Aramean Christians,” because until
recently we were incorrectly identified as “Arab Christians.”
Not only is this historic
decision by Israel and the Jewish people in accord with international
law, we are also delighted that finally a state has heard our plea. Now
we expect other UN Members and NGOs to equally recognize our people and
thus ensure their human rights, especially Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
and the Palestinian Authority.
In conclusion: three
Mr. President, we are reliving
the nightmares of the Ottoman Genocide of 1915. As we are struggling for
survival, we ask the international community to guarantee UN charters
and international law by recognizing:
1. the ongoing atrocity crimes
suffered by the Arameans;
2. the Arameans as a distinct
3. the need for a debate about
self-determination of the Aramean people.
In light of the inability or
unwillingness of the governments in our home countries to protect the
Arameans from total annihilation and to help them preserve their
endangered cultural heritage, we appeal to the conscience of this
distinguished forum and stress:
It is about time to grant the
native Aramean people also their own democratic state in the land of
Thank you Mr. President.