This article introduces the contemporary significance of the Assyrian Question--the longstanding inquiry over the rights of a small religious and ethnic minority in Iraq. Recently, Assyrians have been violently targeted and disproportionately driven from postwar Iraq in massive numbers, threatening to obliterate their presence from their ancestral homeland forever. Addressing their legal rights, the author argues that Assyrians are an indigenous people under international law and are, therefore, entitled to the full exercise of their political, social, and cultural self-determination. The article surveys the international law of self-determination alongside provisions of Iraqi law that have been created to protect Assyrians. Briefly examining how autonomy-based solutions have been applied as legitimate remedies to self-determination rights, the author argues that some form of heightened self-governance for the Assyrian people would be appropriate under the circumstances, and would be consistent with international and Iraqi law. Some heightened form of self-administration is then further defended on the grounds that it can promote democracy, protect a vulnerable population, and enhance economic equity.
College of Law
Northern Illinois University Law Review
Isaac, Paul A.
"The Urgent Reawakening of the Assyrian Question in an Emerging Iraqi Federalism: The Self-Determination of the Assyrian People,"
Northern Illinois University Law Review: Vol. 29:
1, Article 4.
Paul A. Isaac, Comment, The Urgent Reawakening of the Assyrian Question in an Emerging Iraqi Federalism: The Self-Determination of the Assyrian People,29 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 209 (2008).