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May 26 2018 | 2:09pm AET

ANC Australia responds after coverage of turkish group’s expulsion from antr-racism campaign

Source: ANC Australia | Tuesday, 11 October 2016
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SYDNEY: The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia) has moved to clarify the circumstances surrounding the expulsion of the Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance (ATAA) from the Australian Human Rights Commission's (AHRC) anti-racism campaign,
“Racism. It Stops With Me.”.

The ATAA is an Ankara-funded Turkish lobby group, which works actively to deny the Armenian Genocide within the Federal Parliament of Australia and several Australian State Parliaments.

After news of the group’s expulsion from the AHRC campaign broke this week, three months after the AHRC decided to expel the ATAA in July of this year, ANC Australia was asked by media to comment, as it was its submission to the AHRC that ultimately led to the ATAA dismissal.

ANC Australia has since revealed to media sources that it was made aware at the beginning of 2016 that the ATAA had joined the AHRC’s “Racism. It Stops With Me.” campaign as a ‘partner’, despite it openly denying the Armenian Genocide as well as the genocide of the Greek and Assyrian Christian minorities in Ottoman Turkey.

ANC Australia Honorary Chairman, Greg Soghomonian revealed that the ATAA’s membership in this campaign was brought to his Committee's attention after individual attempts to object to the ATAA’s inclusion in this campaign were ineffectual and rejected by the AHRC.

“This is not new ‘news’ as the ATAA was expelled from this anti-racism campaign in July after our submission to the AHRC,” said Soghomonian. “It is also old news that the Turkish government-funded ATAA is an organisation which has as one of its principal objectives the denial and obfuscation of the Armenian Genocide.”

“As genocide and genocide denial, being the final act of that crime, is one of the most ultimate forms of racism, we found the inclusion of the ATAA as a ‘partner’ in this worthwhile anti-racism campaign of the AHRC to be completely incompatible with the Commission's charter, and just plainly wrong on a number of levels,” continued Soghomonian.

In addition to the ATAA’s repeated Armenian Genocide denial activities, and the fact that it is funded by the Turkish government, it also publicly accused all Armenian-Australians of “undermining multicultural harmony” by calling for recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide.

Accordingly, detailed and numerous submissions as well as personal representations were made by ANC Australia to the AHRC to have the ATAA removed as a ‘partner’ of this campaign.  This directly resulted in the AHRC in July of this year terminating its ‘partnership’ agreement with the ATAA, and calling on the ATAA  to remove from its website all representations of its previous association as its conduct was incompatible with the stated objectives of said campaign.

“Our dealings with the AHRC showed it to be a very professional organisation, and due to this experience, we are assured it will scrutinise applicants for such campaigns more carefully in the future,” said Soghomonian. “We accepted they had a process to assess submissions such as ours and we therefore stayed the course until we received the just result.”

On why this wasn't made public by ANC Australia in July, Soghomonian explained: “We did not wish to make it public for the sake of publicity alone, as we don't believe in delivering publicity to a genocide denialist organisation like the ATAA. There are other ways to ensure that their true colours are made known to intended circles.”

Click here for recent ABC Radio coverage of this story.