'Assyrian Recognition' in Iraq

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Posted by Diaspora Assyrian from Proxy.fandm.edu ( on Monday, March 25, 2002 at 3:10AM :


March 15, 2002
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush:

We are writing to address the need for official constitutional recognition for the Assyrian community as a distinct, indigenous
people in any future Iraqi reforms. The Assyrian community, including Chaldeans and Syriacs, are the indigenous Christian people of
Mesopotamia. The approximately 1.5 to 2 million Assyrians residing in Iraq constitute the third largest demographic population in
the country. However, their government does not officially recognize the Assyrians as a people. The constitution only recognizes
Arabs and Kurds, referring to Assyrians as "Christian Arabs."

The current War on Terrorism should serve as a reminder of the need for strategic allies worldwide. The United States will benefit
by maintaining a supportive relationship with the Assyrian community in Iraq, as well as the Assyrian Coalition, who have made great
sacrifices to oppose the regime of Saddam Hussein and will continue to work for a unified, democratic, and secular government.

Assyrians have long suffered >from violence at the hands of their neighbors. In recent years, reports of attacks have increased,
fitting a pattern of greater violence against Assyrians with intent to drive them from their ancestral home. Furthermore, Assyrians
pushing for greater recognition are persecuted by the government and are restricted from free cultural, linguistic and religious
expression in Iraq in particular, and the region in general. The Assyrian community has faced systematic terror campaigns in Iraq
and Assyrian political leaders have been assassinated. Since the Gulf War, Kurdish tribes tied to the ruling parliamentary parties
have illegally occupied most of the Assyrian villages razed by the government. We believe that the United States Government must
send a clear and forceful message that it will not tolerate such abuses. Official constitutional recognition for the Assyrian
community would be an  important catalyst for an improvement in human rights.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We hope this effort will lead to an improvement in conditions for the Assyrians in
Iraq, and we look forward to hearing from you on this issue.

Rod R. Blagojevich (D-IL, 5th)
Diane E. Watson (D-CA, 32nd)
Anna Eshoo (D-CA, 14th)
Barbara Lee (D-CA, 9th)
Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL, 4th)
James McGovern (D-MA, 3rd)
William Lipinski (D-IL, 3rd)
Gary A. Condit (D-CA, 18th)
David E. Bonior (D-MI, 10th)
David E. Price (D-NC, 4th)
Donald M. Payne (D-NJ, 10th)
George Radanovich (R-CA, 19th)
Frank R. Wolf (R-VA, 10th)
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA, 16th)
Joseph R. Pitts (R-PA, 16th)
Michael Honda (D-CA, 15th)
Janice Schakowsky (D-IL, 9th)
Tim Johnson (R-IL, 15th)
Mark Kirk (R-IL, 10th)

-- Diaspora Assyrian
-- signature .

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