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Your Immanence holy fathers, Distinguished Guests, ladies and gentleman

First of all, it is an honour for me to be among you participating in this historic Day. On behalf of my colleagues, members of the Assyrian Universal Alliance – Australia Chapter, and the Assyrian Australian people, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to you all and to the Assyrian nation worldwide for this great achievement.
I would like to acknowledge the presence of official representatives from the Armenian government and all the guests from abroad who joint us today. I thank the members of the Statue Project Committee who worked hard to bring this project to reality, particularly I would like to thank the artist for designing this magnificent monument, and the Armenian Government for allowing the Assyrian genocide monument to be built on a Public land .
 
 Today’s unveiling of this extraordinary monument which honours the victims of the Assyrian genocide, is a significant event in the life of our nation and our communities in Armenia and abroad; communities that have been established as a direct result of the continuous assaults on the Assyrian nation.
 
This Monument is a memorial to Assyrians and all others martyred in genocidal episodes throughout history. This memorial monument not only reflects a dark era in our nation’s history, it also speaks of what is occurring today to indigenous Assyrians in Iraq, Syria and Turkey,  who are facing systematic campaign of murder, kidnapping, intimidation and destruction .and calls for a just and moral intervention by all people and nations who value humanity.
 
The history of the First World War brings memories of one of the worst policies of systematic annihilation of human beings conducted against the Assyrian nation; A heartless campaign that almost eliminated the presence of all Christians living in Anatolia – Armenians, Pontic Greeks, and Assyrians. 
 
By 1918, nearly three quarters of a million Assyrians of different denominations had fallen victim to this mass murder conducted by the Ottoman Turks.
 
In our refugee communities around the world, we have Assyrians who were alive to see the atrocities committed against our people at the hands of the Ottomans during World War One from 1914 to 1923 and the massacres committed by the Iraqi Army in August 1933, one year after Iraq declared its independence, when the Iraqi army marched through the Assyrian villages around the ancient city of Nineveh without any warning and massacred an estimated 3000 defenceless Assyrians. 
 
The act of genocide never stopped against our people. During the rule of the tyrant Saddam Hussein over 400 Assyrian towns and villages were leveled to the ground and their inhabitants forced to leave behind their homeland and properties.  Since 2003, Shortly after the American led  invasion, radical Islamic militants began to focus their rage against the Assyrian minority. Within the last eight years over 65 churches have been bombed, and hundreds of Christian Assyrians killed. 
 
The defenseless indigenous Assyrians in particular, have been put into a dangerous situation, facing complete annihilation as a viable nation. We are the victims whose hopes and dreams were cut off in our forefather lands simply because of our Christian faith and Assyrian ethnicity. Our Martyrs cry out for justice before God in heaven and we cry out on their behalf before the nations of the world.
 
We appeal to the Armenian government, as well as to other countries, to condemn these heinous acts committed against the Christian citizens of Anatolia. We urge all international humanitarian institutions to pressure Turkey to acknowledge and apologise for the atrocities its Ottoman leaders committed against their Assyrian, Armenian and Pontic Greek citizens during World War I. Let us recognize and condemn these acts for what they are: genocide.
 
God bless you, God bless this country, May God bless the Assyrian nation, Glory and honour to our Assyrian martyrs.
 
Hermiz Shahen, April 25th 2012 Armenia
Deputy Secretary General,
Assyrian Universal Alliance
 
 

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