Iraqi Parliament Betrayed the Persecuted Assyrian Christians

9/28/2008 11:12:00 PM

Just when we thought things cannot possibly go any worse for the most persecuted population of Iraq, its indigenous people who are Assyrian Christians, we witnessed the biggest injustice yet by the Iraqi Parliament.

On September 24, 2008, the Iraqi Parliament eliminated article 50 of the Provincial Election Law, which had adopted on July 22, 2008. That article guaranteed the quotas (specific number of seats) in the governorate's regional councils for the minorities, including the Assyrian Christians. The Governorate Council Elections will be held on January 31, 2009.

The bill is now passed to be reviewed and approved by the Iraqi Presidium committee, President Jalal Talabani and his two Vice Presidents. Elimination of the article 50 means that Assyrians, as the indigenous people of Iraq, and other minorities will permanently lose their rights to have representation in the Regional Councils in the 14 regions. For the time being, three regions in northern Iraq (Kirkuk, Arbil and Soleymaniya) will not be holding regional elections.

This gross stump on democracy by the very parliamentarians, who are sworn to bring democracy to Iraq, has caused turmoil among the Assyrians of Iraq. Many of them protested against this bill by holding demonstrations against this post war dictatorship.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has sent his concerns and requests to the Presidium committee to reverse the Parliament’s injustice and betrayal of the rights of minorities in Iraq. He stated, “We hoped parliament would approve the draft submitted by the cabinet, which included protection of the representation for minorities according to the constitution.”

More than half the Assyrian Christians have fled Iraq due to persecution by the fanatic Islamic groups. The remaining half are the most abused population in Iraq due to their Christian religion. 16 churches have been bombed since the beginning of the war in 2003. In Diaspora, the Assyrian Global Network, AssyriaSat called upon the Assyrians around the world to help their brethren in Iraq by sending e-mails of protest to the offices of Iraqi president, Mr. Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi Cabinet and the Iraqi embassies around the world. Within a short period of time, thousands of e-mails flooded the mentioned offices with the overwhelming response from the Assyrians of Diaspora.

The Holy Apostolic Catholic (Universal) Assyrian Church of the East sent an official letter of protest to the Iraqi authorities to veto elimination of article 50.

Within the next few days, it is expected that this bill will be rejected by the Presidium committee and reinstated in the Provincial Election Law.