Federal parliamentarian John Alexander MP rose in Australia’s House of Representatives and reflected on the one-year anniversary of Azerbaijan’s unprovoked attacks against the indigenous Armenian Republic of Artsakh as a tragic reminder of the Armenian Genocide, reports the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).
Alexander is Member for Bennelong – Australia’s largest Armenian-populated electorate – and an inaugural signatory to the Australian Friends of Artsakh network. The former world-ranked tennis champion became the first Federal Australian politician to visit the Republic of Artsakh in 2019, and is also a supporter of the Joint Justice Initiative of the Armenian-Australian, Assyrian-Australian and Greek-Australian communities calling for national recognition of the 1915 Genocides.
In his speech to parliament on 26th October 2021, Alexander recounted: “When I visited Artsakh in 2019, I was struck by the normality of the place in an area constantly threatened by its neighbor. I was amazed by the hardiness and resilience of the people in the towns I visited.”
“But just a year later we saw tragic images of roads clogged with refugees—a direct juxtaposition of images taken nearly 100 years earlier of the victims of the Armenian genocide,” added Alexander, who is also Chair of the Australian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities.
Alexander also expressed concern over the ongoing humanitarian and political crisis unfolding as a result of Azerbaijan’s attacks against the Armenian homeland last year.
“Since then I have heard reports of 100,000 Armenian civilians being uprooted from their homes, 5,000 having been killed and hundreds of Armenians having been imprisoned. The fighting must stop. The ceasefire must hold,” Alexander said. “When states talk of war, it’s always the people on the ground who suffer, the people of Artsakh.”
The Armenian National Committee of Australia’s (ANC-AU) Executive Director, Haig Kayserian welcomed Alexander’s timely public intervention.
“One year since unleashing 44 days of terror against Armenians before agreeing to a supposed ceasefire, Azerbaijan continues to occupy Artsakh while encroaching on sections of the Republic of Armenia,” said Kayserian.
“This is particularly why our community thanks and appreciates Mr. John Alexander’s awareness-raising in Australia’s parliament,” he added.
Earlier this week, Australia’s former Defense Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon MP similarly rose in the Federal Parliament urging the Australian Government to publicly condemn Azerbaijan’s belligerent conduct against the peaceful and democratic Republic of Artsakh.