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TAKE ACTION NOW! ANC Australia slams statement by MP Luke Simpkins on Nagorno-Karabakh

Source: ANC Australia | Tuesday, 24 November 2015
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CANBERRA: The Armenian National Committee of Australia has slammed a statement made in Federal Parliament on Nagorno-Karabakh by the Member for Cowan, Luke Simpkins.

TAKE ACTION NOW – CLICK TO TAKE 30 SECONDS AND CALL ON LUKE SIMPKINS TO CORRECT STATEMENT

As Chair of the Australia-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Friendship Group, Simpkins addressed Australia’s Federation Chamber upon returning from Azerbaijan, stating: “In 1992 and 1993, Armenia illegally seized sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. This includes the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, but also a district called Kalbajar.”

ANC Australia has sent a letter to Mr. Simpkins, condemning his statements made and requesting to meet with him immediately.

The letter read: “This statement was directly taken from the book of Azerbaijan’s propaganda machine, a machine of the country’s brutal dictator Ilham Aliyev, and is considered outrageous by the Armenian-Australian community and the greater Armenian world.”

It continued: “You stated you wish for the Australian view on Azerbaijan to be ‘fair and, above all, accurate’ yet you have not replied to our requests to shed some light on the real facts about some of these statements you have made and have continued to go down a one-sided path. This is irresponsible, to say the least, and raises doubts aplenty among the electorate.”

TAKE ACTION NOW – CLICK TO TAKE 30 SECONDS AND CALL ON LUKE SIMPKINS TO CORRECT STATEMENT


The letter from ANC Australia can be viewed in full below.

Mr. Luke Simpkins MP
Member for Cowan
Via Email: luke.simpkins.mp@aph.gov.au

18th November, 2015

Dear Mr. Simpkins,

On Thursday, 12 November you addressed the Federation Chamber of Parliament incorrectly accusing the Republic of Armenia and Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh of illegal actions.

This statement was directly taken from the book of Azerbaijan’s propaganda machine, a machine of the country’s brutal dictator Ilham Aliyev, and is considered outrageous by the Armenian-Australian community and the greater Armenian world.

Furthermore, your statement shows you do not have a clear understanding of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh was established free and independent based on the rights of self-determination, decided by the native Armenians of the region. It was on 10 December 1991 when 99.9% of citizens voted YES to an independence referendum and saw Nagorno-Karabakh established as an independent nation separate to the Republic of Azerbaijan. To say that Nagorno-Karabakh was “illegally seized” by its native Armenians exercising their rights to self-determination is deeply disturbing.

The same Azerbaijan government that hosted you during unfair elections sees a continued oligarchy remain in power that pursues an Armenophobic foreign policy, which promotes targeting Armenians.

The same Azerbaijan government continues to abuse human rights and continues to oppress freedom of speech and free media. The particular case of Khadija Ismayilova is testament to this as she is currently jailed for publicly speaking out on the corruption of the Azerbaijan government. (See article link at the end of this letter).

There is also the case of Ramil Safarov, who was welcomed back to Azerbaijan, pardoned by Azerbaijan’s President Illham Aliyev and treated as a hero for killing Armenian Lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan during NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program. (See article at the end of this letter).

Azerbaijan also continues to violate ceasefire agreements in place since 1994. In particular, Azerbaijan continues to reject offers from the Armenian side for regional cooperation and rejects the OSCE Minsk Group’s (Co-chaired by the United States, France and Russia) instructions to remove snipers from the contact line. The threat of use of force by Azerbaijan continues to be an obstacle for peace and security for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Earlier in August, we requested to meet with you to discuss some of the misinterpretations and inaccuracies you made regarding the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Azerbaijan when you addressed the Federation Chamber on August 13. You stated you wish for the Australian view on Azerbaijan to be “fair and, above all, accurate” yet you have not replied to our requests to shed some light on the real facts about some of these statements you have made and have continued to go down a one-sided path. This is irresponsible, to say the least, and raises doubts aplenty among the electorate.

As the peak public affairs body of the Armenian community in Australia, we strongly condemn the statements you have made in the Chamber and request we meet with you immediately to discuss these issues.

Nagorno-Karabakh is a country and not a conflict.


Yours sincerely,

[Signature]

Vache H. Kahramanian
Executive Director


Letter from Azerbaijan Jail: Khadija Ismayilova Speaks Out
The New York Times – June 11, 2015
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/12/opinion/letter-from-azerbaijan-jail-khadija-ismayilova-speaks-out.html

A Hero’s Welcome for a Convicted Killer Reignites Tensions

The New York Times – September 4, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/05/world/europe/pardon-reignites-azerbaijan-armenia-tensions.html


Other Pieces of Interest

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/12/opinion/the-two-faces-of-azerbaijans-mr-aliyev.html?_r=0

http://www.wsj.com/articles/david-j-kramer-a-thuggish-regime-challenges-the-u-s-1420410979

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/14/world/asia/azerbaijan-human-rights-defenders-are-sentenced.html

http://www.rferl.org/content/article/27055923.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-10/eu-parliament-condemns-unprecedented-crackdown-in-azerbaijan