ArmInfo. On Monday 2nd October 2023, hundreds of Armenian- Australians in busloads from Melbourne and New South Wales will be gathering in Canberra at the Turkish, Azerbaijani, Russian and US Embassies after the ethnic cleansing of Armenians unfolding from Nagorno Karabakh to Armenia. This is stated in the message of the Armenian National Committee of Australia on Facebook.
"There are hardly any Armenians left in Nagorno Karabakh. This is a second Armenian Genocide," said Vache Kahramanian, the Chairperson of the Armenian National Committee of Australia. "We want to see Australia take swift action on two critical fronts, by actively participating in humanitarian relief efforts and by imposing sanctions on Azerbaijan, as the 21st century cannot leave genocides unpunished."
Foreign Minister Penny Wong has yet to issue a statement since the exodus began, despite calling on Azerbaijan to end the crippling blockade and stopping the attacks that led to the cleansing of indigenous Armenians from their ancestral homeland. While Australia has imposed sanctions on Russia and provided aid to Ukraine, it has yet to take substantive action regarding the unfolding crisis in Armenia. "They are two issues, but they stem from the same problem. Failure to impose sanctions on Azerbaijan, which has been enabled to perpetrate violence with Russia's tacit approval, shows a troubling inconsistency in Australia's foreign policy," Kahramanian added.
Shadow Foreign Minister, Simon Birmingham joined calls for the Australian Government to provide humanitarian assistance to the Armenian refugees forced to flee their homes in Nagorno Karabakh. "The Coalition urges the Albanese Government to join calls for Azerbaijan to refrain from further hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, deliver on assurances that the rights of residents of Armenian heritage will be protected and allow an independent international observer mission," Birmingham posted to Twitter (X). "Australia should also join partner nations in contributing towards emergency funding and expertise," he added.
The Armenian-Australian community will protest at the Turkish (1:30pm), United States (2:15pm), Russian (3pm) and Azerbaijani (4pm) embassies in Canberra on Monday on 2nd October 2023, for their involvement in the crisis and complicity in the war crimes committed during the recent attack on Armenian territories.
While Azerbaijan has recently agreed to a UN monitoring mission for Nagorno Karabakh, the region is now empty of Armenians. Azerbaijan's agreement came after a series of bombings, attacks, and military operations that led to the mass exodus of Armenians over the past week. "Armenia has routinely been backed into a corner by its neighbours, especially Turkey and Azerbaijan. For it to survive as the only democracy in the region, it needs reliable powers to intervene - and Australia needs to have a role here," Kahramanian said.
Kahramanian reflected on the immense challenges faced by the Armenian community, many of whom are descendants of the Armenian Genocide.
"Our community has been retraumatised by recent events. Some have travelled to Armenia to assist, and many more plan to volunteer. Local NGOs, advocacy groups, and the ICRC are overwhelmed and desperately need resources.
The United States has already pledged US$11 million in aid for the refugee effort. "Australia, as a key ally, must step up and do more to support those affected," Kahramanian added, the source notes.