Kurdish President Nechirvan Barzani visits Bethnahrin Democratic Party and Assyrian Syriac Chaldean Popular Council

ANKAWA / ERBIL – In a visit to the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian National Union Coalition, President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) Nechirvan Barzani expressed his full support to uphold all rights of the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people in his autonomous region of Iraq in the new constitution to be drafted. Barzani was received by National Union Coalition leader and President of the Bethnahrin Democratic Party Romeo Hakkari. The National Union Coalition holds 3 seats in the KRG’s parliament. The 2 other quota seats are occupied by the Rafidain Party and the Assyrian Syriac Chaldean Popular Council.

According to a statement issued by the National Union Coalition, Romeo Hakkari emphasized the unity of the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people and opposed divide-and-rule politics which aim to deliberately weaken the position of the the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people by trying to separating it into three separate nationalities.

He raised the many adversities and issues Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian face in the KRI and demanded the new constitution – which needs to be signed by the Region’s President – be a secular, non-Sharia based, civil, and democratic constitution based on the foundations of full citizenship, equality, and in respect of the rights of every individual and religious and ethnic people living in the KRI. He addressed the violations against the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people, such as the attacks and encroachments on lands and properties – Chaldean-Syriac Assyrian villages in northern Iraq have recently come under illegal attacks by Turkey, a longtime KDP patron. Hakkari also raised the lack of services and job opportunities for Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian youth with President Barzani.

Also Read: Beth Nahrain Democratic Party’s National Initiative declined, Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian political arena remains fragmented

President Nechirvan Barzani confirmed that the full rights of the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people and other national peoples will be incorporated in the Region’s constitution, and it will guarantee the active participation of these peoples in all the Region’s institutions rights. The statement said Barzani expressed his full support and acknowledged that the problems of the Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians are his problems. Whether his statements will materialize in sincere actions is unknown. A first step was the appointment of Muna Youkhanna Yaqo as head of Independent Commission for Human Rights of the Kurdish Region.

Barzani also visited the political party Assyrian Syriac Chaldean Popular Council in Ankawa and met with MP Klara Odisho Yaqub, party leader Jamal Zito, and other party officials. The meeting revolved around the legitimate national rights and party’s vision for the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people in the KRI and how their rights will be included in the new constitution. MP Klara Odisho handed over an official memorandum with the demands of the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people for the new constitution. The Assyrian Syriac Chaldean Popular Council advocates a unified designation for the Suraye.

President Barzani meets with the Assyrian Syriac Chaldean Popular Council. Image: Ankawa.com

The Kurdish Region in Iraq is an autonomous Region with a democratic constitution but has de facto been autocratically governed by the ruling Kurdish Barzani and Talabani families, each with their own Peshmerga, policing and intelligence services.

Only this week were the Region’s authorities criticized by the United Nations over its crack down on free journalism and the sentencing of journalists and activists for vague allegations of endangering the national security of the KRI.

The Kurdish government is criticized by Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians, in the homeland and especially in the large diaspora, for its autocratic rule, bad record in defending their national rights, cases of trampling of property rights, corruption, the inefficient allocations of funds the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people are entitled to under the Iraqi constitution, assigning political positions to collaborating Chaldeans-Syriacs Assyrians, and its policies in larger Iraq and the so-called disputed areas.

Much of the latter criticism concerns the role the Peshmerga played when terrorist organization ISIS invaded the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian homeland of the Nineveh Plains in 2015. Shortly before the ISIS incursion, the Peshmerga confiscated the weapons of Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians and Yazidis.