SYDNEY—Cross-bench political power the Australian Greens has added the recognition of the right to self-determination of the Armenians of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh) to its party policy platform, following meetings between Justin Alick, the Greens candidate in the upcoming Bennelong by-election, and representatives of the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).
The Australian Greens party, which also reiterated its recognition of the Armenian Genocide, has become one of the first non-Armenian political parties in the world to adopt what ANC-AU called a “principled position” on Artsakh.
The Australian Greens party position also includes a call “on the Commonwealth Government to officially recognise the independence of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh [Artsakh] and strengthen Australia’s relationship with Nagorno-Karabakh and its citizens.”
ANC-AU Managing Director Vache Kahramanian said: “We sincerely thank the Australian Greens hierarchy and their Bennelong by-election candidate Justin Alick for proving their belief in the principles of self-determination by formally recognizing the Republic of Artsakh.”
“Nagorno-Karabagh has been part of the greater Armenian motherland for millennia, and the continued threat of the war-mongering, corrupt dictatorship governing Azerbaijan means the world must take notice and speak out for the human right to self-determination of the Armenian citizens of the region, who have voted overwhelmingly in a referendum declaring independence.”
Kahramanian added: “The Australian Greens have taken notice and they have spoken out, and for this we are grateful.”
Republic of Artsakh Permanent Representative in Australia Kaylar Michaelian added praise on behalf of the government he represents.
“This is a truly historic recognition,” said Michaelian. “The people of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh) have lived under constant security threats for 26 years; however, their resilience during that time has allowed them to build a democratic nation, which only waits for the world to recognize it and its citizens in order to thrive.”
“On behalf of the government of the Republic of Artsakh and the people of Artsakh, I thank the Australian Greens for their commitment to human rights,” Michaelian added.
In the current Federal Parliament, the Australian Greens are represented by nine senators in the Upper House and one member of parliament in the House of Representatives.
In a letter addressed to ANC-AU, Alick stated:
“In consultation and consensus with the Offices of Dr. Richard Di Natale [leader of the Australian Greens], Senator Lee Rhiannon, and David Shoebridge MLC, that I can provide the following responses to your enquiries, which you may regard as both positions of myself as well as the Party I am representing:
- The Australian Greens recognize the Armenian Genocide, including the systematic massacres and forced deportation of 1.5 million Armenians in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. This represents one of the gravest crimes against humanity in modern times and we pay tribute to the memory of the victims.
- In line with the 25 October 2012 motion by the NSW Legislative Council, the Australian Greens:
- Acknowledges and upholds the importance of the human right to self-determination and a free and a democratic society;
- Recognizes the right to self-determination of all peoples including those of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh;
- Notes Nagorno-Karabagh’s sustained efforts towards creating a free and democratic society through the use of legitimate parliamentary elections and its continued efforts to develop a responsible government;
- Supports and encourages Nagorno-Karabagh’s involvement within the international community and further encourages its engagement with the international community to reach a solution to the existing regional problems to establish peace and stability,
- Encourages peaceful relations and the continued promotion of humanitarian and economic support for the people of Nargona-Karabagh; and
- Calls on the Commonwealth Government to officially recognize the independence of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and strengthen Australia’s relationship with Nagorno-Karabagh and its citizens.”
ANC-AU has met with all key candidates ahead of the Bennelong by-election and will present its report to the Armenian-Australian community ahead of the vote, which will take place Dec. 16.