President of International Religious Freedom Secretariat Nadine Maenza visits Bethnahrin National Council in Europe

BRUSSELS — In August, Former Chair of US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and President of International Religious Freedom Secretariat (IRF) Nadine Maenza met with officials of the Bethnahrin National Council (Mawtbo Umthoyo d’Bethnahrin, MUB) during a two-day visit.

During the two-day meeting, MUB officials reviewed the recent work of the organization and its goals. They spoke about the history of  the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people across Beth Nahrin (Mesopotamia) and the wider region. The past three decades have been disastrous for the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian of Iraq, with the population dropping from an estimated 1.5 million in 1991 to 500,000 today. Given the existential threats to the continued presence of the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian people in Iraq, the MUB advocates for an autonomous region to be created in their ancestral lands of Nineveh Plains.

Regarding Lebanon, the officials talked about recent developments in the political and economic crises plaguing the country, as well as ways to solve them. The difficult circumstances in the country threaten the continued existence of Christians in Lebanon.

Maenza expressed her happiness to meet with the MUB officials and expressed her hope the organization will meet with success.

She also highlighted the importance of the work of the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria, which she has visited on several occasions, in building a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society based on participatory democracy and equality.