The Assyrian Policy Institute welcomes a letter spearheaded by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) and Barbara Lee (CA-13) raising concerns about the expropriation of Assyrian lands in Iraq and calling on the U.S. Department of State to provide "an update on how the United States can monitor the issue to help local authorities resolve it through a process which respects the rule of law and the rights of all parties."
Co-signatories to the letter include Reps. Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Josh Harder (CA-10), and Andy Levin (MI-09). The letter, addressed to Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain reads, "Complaints about illegal seizures of Assyrian lands in Iraq go back decades. These claims include incidents where land seizures were linked to or perpetrated by powerful officials, tribal leaders, militia groups, or members of security forces. Of particular concern are long-standing reports that scores of Assyrian villages in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have been subject to partial or complete appropriation. Assyrians and other minorities are frustrated by a perceived lack of meaningful action by the authorities and a lack of recourse in the courts." Read the full letter here.
"The chronic and systematic expropriation of Assyrian land in Iraq, and in the Kurdistan Region in particular, has been a long-term problem that continues unabated in the present," said API Executive Director Reine Hanna. "The intention and scale of this harmful process constitutes a targeted and systematic attempt to ethnically cleanse Assyrian populations from their ancestral lands. We are hopeful that this letter will not only bring renewed attention to this issue, but that it will promote accountability and help advance a just resolution."