One year ago this month the Assyrian Aid Society of America (AAS-A) joined the Philos Project, the American Mesopotamian Organization, and the Iraqi Christian Relief Council in a letter to the State Department to urge the Secretary of State to include Assyrian Christians in his upcoming declaration of genocide perpetrated by ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
AAS-A was also instrumental in conducting and documenting interviews from survivors in Iraq as requested by the Knights of Columbus and In Defense of Christians in their effort to complete a 278-page document prepared for the Secretary.
Within days, on March 17, 2016, the State Department officially declared that, according to international law, Christians, Yazidis, Shia Muslims, and other ethno-religious minorities in Iraq and Syria are in fact victims of genocide.
One month earlier the European Parliament had declared the Islamic State guilty of genocide in Iraq and Syria.
On January 26, 2017 the Iraqi parliament declared the Nineveh Plains, including Mosul, a disaster area due to the region-wide destruction caused by ISIS.
If these declarations are implemented the Assyrian Christians and other ethno-religious minorities should be eligible for government and international funds for reconstruction.
Unfortunately, a designation of genocide without implementing immediate solutions renders the declaration useless. The United Nations Development Programs already established 18 offices in north Iraq but none in Nineveh Plain. Nothing to date has been done to return the remaining 120,000 displaced people to their homes.
This continuing delay is pushing many of them to immigrate to neighboring countries seeking shelter and hoping to be resettled in the diaspora, which exasperates the plight of the Assyrians to near extinction in their homeland. We hope that the conscience of the world will awaken and help our persecuted people live in dignity in their own indigenous lands.