martedì, ottobre 04, 2016


Iraq Could Lose Its Syriac Christian Population If It Doesn't Amend Its Constitution

By Christian Today
Carey Lodge

Iraq is at risk of losing its Syriac Christian presence if it does not legally recognise the group in its constitution, leading Church figures have warned.
Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II and Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Youssif III last week wrote to the Prime Minister of Iraq along with other key government leaders, urging them to recognise Syriac as an ethnicity.
Article four of the constitution secures the right of Iraqis "to educate their children in their mother tongue, such as Turkmen, Syriac, and Armenian".
However Article 125, which guarantees "the administrative, political, cultural and educational rights of the various nationalities", mentions only Turkomen, Chaldeans and Assyrians "and all other constituents". It does not specify Syriacs by name.
According to a statement released by the Holy Synod of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, which met last week, Church leaders "demanded the Iraqi government and the Iraqi Parliament to correct this injustice and list the name 'Syriac' in the Iraqi constitution, not just as language, but as an ethnicity and essential component of the people of the Republic of Iraq".
"Neglecting the Syriacs, leads to great anger," they warned. "It seems like the Syriacs do not exist in Iraq and as if the Syriacs are no [sic] Iraqi citizens, even though the Syriacs have a historic presence in Iraq – a presence that is older than other communities."
A letter sent
by the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) (WCA) earlier this month echoed this call.
Addressed to the Iraqi government, the letter said that constitutionally recognising Iraqi Syriacs "is critical to secure their identity and presence in the homeland".
"Because the Constitution does not acknowledge the Syriacs, they have no legal existence, are not able to enjoy the rights mentioned in Article 125 and the current Iraqi ID Cards forces them to adopt an identity that is foreign to them, such as Arab, Turkmen, Chaldean or Assyrian," the letter continued.
"Clearly, such a violation of their right to existence in the land of their ancestors flies in the face of international (human rights) law, common sense and the very spirit of recognizing, appreciating and preserving Iraq's rich ethno-religious diversity."

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