YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 2, ARTSAKHPRESS. The Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (AIHGS) and the NSW Ecumenical Council have written to the Australian Federal Government, expressing immediate concerns about Azerbaijan’s blockade against the indigenous Armenians of Artsakh, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).
On behalf of distinguished academics from across the country, Dr Darren O’Brien, President and Dr Panayiotis Diamandis, Director of the AIHGS, appealed directly to the Foreign Minister, Senator the Hon. Penny Wong and Shadow Foreign Minister Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, in an open letter, calling the Australian Government’s silence “deafening and unacceptable.”
In the statement, the Genocide scholars said, “All Federal Governments since 1974 have maintained consistent policies in support of the human rights of all Cypriots. The Armenians of Artsakh deserve the same treatment.”
The Open Letter said,” At the time when Australian Defence Forces are actively engaged in support of Ukraine, the least we, as Australians, can hope for, are public statements from the Australian Federal Government in support of the indigenous Armenian people of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), in support of ending the inhumane and illegal blockade of civilians, of men, women and children. Now is the time for public action in support of the people of Artsakh.”
Reverend Myung Hwa Park, President of the NSW Ecumenical Council who attended the ANC-AU Friends of Artsakh Extraordinary Meeting with the country’s Human Rights Defender and former Foreign Minister, also appealed to the government to help bring an end to this mass humanitarian catastrophe.
The NSW Ecumenical Council letter read: “This ruthless tactic, a ‘disguised environmentalist protesters signal that the blockade is a coordinated attack against the Republic of Artsakh to manufacture irreversible humanitarian consequences for the population, with the clear intent of making life untenable for the Armenians of Artsakh and to achieve the thinly veiled objective of their ethnic cleansing.”
“I urge you to support the people of Artsakh by calling on Azerbaijan to open the only land route between the Republic of Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia and to end the blockade,” Rev. Park wrote.
The NSW Ecumenical Council expresses the views of 18 highly influential and prominent church communities, including the Anglican Church, Antiochian Orthodox Church, Armenian Apostolic Church, Assyrian Church of the East, The Bruderhof, Congregational Federation of NSW, Coptic Orthodox Church, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church, Greek Orthodox Church, St Thomas Indian Orthodox Church, Lutheran Church of Australia, Mar Thoma Church, Religious Society of Friends, Roman Catholic Church (Diocese of Bathurst, Parramatta and Wagga Wagga), Syrian Orthodox Church, Church of South India, The Salvation Army and Uniting Church Synod of NSW and ACT.
On behalf of the over 50-000 strong Armenian-Australian community, the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) welcomed the appeals made by the AIHGS and NSW Ecumenical Council to the Australian Foreign Affairs leaders.
The full AIHGS Open Letter was also published in the national Australian-Hellenic media outlet Neos Kosmos.