Honorary President: Lord Carey of Clifton
Patrons: Reverend Canon Andrew White: Rt. Hon. Michael Foot: Lord Rea: Baroness
Cox: Peter Kilfoyle MP – Former Defence Minister: Bob Marshall Andrews QC MP:
Robert Jackson: Stephen Pound MP: John Horam MP: Phiara Khabra MP:
Professor Simo Parpola – Assyriologist (University of Helsinki): Air Vice Marshall
George Sada: Glyn Ford MEP
Dr. Charles Tannock MEP –Vice-Chairman Human Rights Committee of European Parliament
London - September 12, 2005 - On behalf of the 'Save the Assyrians' campaign, we are enclosing, for your information, excerpts from the proposed new Iraqi Constitution (see attached) that affect the Assyrians and other minorities directly. We would also like to thank you for your continuing support as a patron. Thanks to you, our campaign is yielding results.
In recent months we have sought to influence the proposed new Iraqi Constitution with respect to the Assyrians, the indigenous people of Iraq and have taken our campaign from the UK Parliament, to the European Parliament and the United Nations. Our supporters inside Iraq have also been active on the campaign's behalf. So we are delighted to report that the administrative, political, cultural and educational rights of the Assyrians is set to be enshrined in the new constitution.
However, our work must continue. Iraq's minorities will welcome the fact that the constitution is based on a federal, representative, republican system and that Article 122 guarantees 'administrative rights', which are 'regulated by law'. But it is unclear for instance how or if the Assyrian population who comprise the majority in the Nineveh Plains might exercise local jurisdiction in their areas. The Assyrians remain the only sizeable population without an area to call their home, even in the new federal Iraq.
Therefore we request that you use your good offices to argue that case in the UK and European Parliaments.
The proposed new Iraqi Constitution does however clear up any outstanding confusion that exists in some Western countries as to the standing of the Assyrian community. You will note, we hope, that the proposed Constitution does not refer to 'Chaldo Assyrians', or Roman Catholic Assyrians. Instead, it refers to the Assyrians as a whole. While it may seem pedantic, we cannot over stress the importance of this official acceptance of an age-old Assyrian demand for recognition of our people's rights as a whole, as opposed to one religious grouping within the Assyrian community. For too long, use of such terminology has divided the Assyrian community. The British for instance, are not referred to as 'Catholic British' or 'Protestant British', but as a nation within their own rights.
Thank you for your continuing support for 'Save the Assyrians'. In one short year, we have much to be proud of, but a great deal still to do.
Andy Darmoo (Chairman)
Mark Seddon (Campaign Manager)
Copies also to: Jack Straw MP, Ann Clwyd MP, Dr Kim Howells MP, Lord Hylton, Lord Triesman, Rt Hon, Baroness Royall