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Motion: Standing in Support of the People of Artsakh

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. I. Pnevmatikos:

That this council—

1. Notes the actions and belligerence of Azerbaijan towards the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh in commencing military action on 27 September 2020;

2. Notes the serious concerns that have been raised from Armenian-Australians regarding the existential threat to the indigenous Armenian population of the Republic of Artsakh by this military action and in any attempts by Azerbaijan to prevent the peaceful resettlement of the indigenous Armenian population following the agreement to a provisional ceasefire on 9 November 2020;

3. Notes the serious concerns raised by Armenian-Australians and independent international organisations regarding the risk of Azerbaijan destroying sites of global cultural and historical significance;

4. Condemns the actions of President Erdogan of Turkey and President Aliyev of Azerbaijan in their pursuit of a policy of Pan-Turkish nationalism, which has previously led to genocide and which now threatens the Armenian population of Artsakh with ethnic cleansing;

5. Calls on the federal government to condemn these attacks and advocate for the safety and security of Armenia and Artsakh in the context of international support for a stable and enduring peace settlement;

6. Recognises the right to self-determination of all peoples including those of the Republic of Artsakh and calls on the federal government to also recognise the Republic of Artsakh as the only permanent solution to the conflict to avoid further attempts of such military aggression.


The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (17:39): I rise on behalf the Greens to support this motion put before this council by the Hon. Irene Pnevmatikos in relation to the conflict affecting the people of the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian people of the Republic Artsakh, often referred to as Nagorno-Karabakh. The most recent conflict in the region, which is only the latest in a long-running dispute that has seen full-scale war, border clashes and, in living memory, pogroms, ethnic cleansing and the destruction of cultural heritage, is of particularly deep concern given the increased involvement of greater powers.

Although Russia and Turkey have for centuries been closely involved in the events of this region, this latest conflict seems to be an expansion of their ongoing proxy clashes and regional phallometrics that pose a substantial threat to any hopes for stability in this region. It must not be forgotten, however, that it is the people of this region, particularly the ethnic Armenian population in Artsakh, who are in the greatest peril.

Although occurring before this time, coincidently, it is since 24 April 1915, as our ANZACs made their final preparations to sacrifice their lives on the soil of Gallipoli, that the most significant era of the Armenian people of the region began, for it is at this time that the Arminian genocide, recognised and acknowledged as such by South Australia, commenced. Sadly, our counterparts in the federal parliament have refused to recognise the Armenian genocide, but the Greens will continue to call for this to change, as we have done for years.

Over one million died as a result of this planned and coordinated effort by the Ottomans to kill and expel Armenians from Turkey, likely the first major genocide of the 20th century, and in many ways was a blueprint for the actions taken 20 to 25 years later in Europe against the Jewish populations. Further persecution followed, including organised pogroms and the destruction of Armenian cultural heritage.

With the heavy loss of the Artsakh forces in the most recent conflict—Turkey, with its still unacknowledged historical stain, taking a much stronger interest in Azerbaijan and flexing its diplomatic and military muscles—as well as a potential opening up of third proxy conflict between Russia and Turkey, it is the Armenian population of the region that still stands in the greatest peril.

As members of this council and as members of political parties, we must do all in our power and lend our voices and support to the people of Artsakh and let them and the forces arrayed against them know that we are watching and that we will not allow them or their plight to be forgotten or swept away again.

So the Greens today in this council stand with the Hon. Irene Pnevmatikos and the parties in this place in support of this motion and we stand with the people of Artsakh in support of their right to live free and happy lives and celebrate and enjoy their culture with safety and security. We commend the motion to the council.

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