Another case of land grab in Suraya village of Bebozi? Activist Muna Yaku fights back

BEBOZI, ERBIL, Iraq – In what seems to be another case in a long and systematic series of incidents of land grab and property theft, assistant professor of law at Salahuddin University in Erbil Mrs. Muna Yaku has taken up the case of what may be an illegal appropriation of a water source and possibly lands belonging to Syriac villagers of Bebozi, Atrush district, Nohadra (Dohuk Province).

Activist and Suraye rights advocate Muna Yaku took to Facebook to denounce the claims and threats by residents of the Kurdish majority village of Hasanka over a water source and lands in the adjacent Suraya village of Bebozi. Yaku, who keeps following the ongoing case closely and renews attention to the matter, said that village- and land borders of Bebozi are “clear all around, proven by maps and by official documents.” According to Yaku, who says she got the information directly from the residents of Bebozi village, the water source has belonged to the village of Bebozi for hundreds of years without anyone contesting Bebozi ownership.

The villagers of Bebozi hence have rejected to have the baseless dispute heard before a commission in the Kurdish Region in Iraq and claim to have the official border maps to their lands and water source. Moreover, several other neighboring Kurds testify in favor of the Bebozi Syriacs.

Related: Iraqi court approves appeal against illegal appropriation of Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian land

Previously, the disputes commission, which is not acknowledged by the Syriacs, set up by the Erbil Board and which consists of 5 Kurds, decided that the water source and disputed lands belonged to the Kurds of Hasanka. Muna Yaku said on Facebook that the Bebozi residents have rejected the commission’s decision and have not signed this commission’s decision.

Yaku also said in her post that she has send out an urgent call to the Prime Minister of the Kurdish Regional Government, the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian parliamentarians in the Kurdistan parliament, international human rights organizations and Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian political and advocacy organizations and to every one who thinks that the Kurdish Region in Iraq is democratic and respects the rights of the Suraye people. In her call which she published on her Facebook page, she asks:

“how long will you increase the reasons for Christians to emigrate from their sacred ancient homeland.”

“To those who pride the Kurdish Region for dealing with and respecting minority rights I ask, what will you do to take away the injustice done against the villagers of Bebozi?

“After all this, will you still ask how it comes we have become a minority?!”