Armenian Youth Federation of Australia Focus on Artsakh in Canberra Activism Week

By AYF-AU | Friday, 07 January 2022

CANBERRA: Twenty members of the Armenian Youth Federation of Australia’s (AYF-AU) Western Sydney and Northern Sydney chapters travelled to the nation’s capital for the organisation’s annual Canberra Activism Week.

The five-day program, organised by the AYF-AU Central Executive’s Political Committee which involved activism activities including banner signings in several locations across Canberra, protests in front of the Embassy of Azerbaijan, demonstrations at several University campuses and delivering letters to organisations calling for assistance to the ethnic Armenian Republic of Artsakh following the fallout of the 2020 Artsakh War.

On Monday, following several banner signings in Canberra’s CBD, AYF-AU members joined the Armenian National Committee of Australia team as they watched from the Canberra Hellenic Club the historic motion in which the House of Representatives unanimously called upon the Federal Government to recognise the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides.

AYF-AU Central Executive Chairperson, François Pamboukian, said: “It is time our Prime Minister honours our ancestors’ memory by recognising the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides, and stands with over 30 nations worldwide in characterising the mass murder and persecution of our people as Genocide.”

Following this historic moment in Australian parliamentary history, the AYF-AU members conducted a peaceful demonstration outside the Republic of Azerbaijan’s embassy. During the protest, AYF-AU members spoke of the horrific atrocities committed by Azerbaijan during the war, the current POW situation and the cultural desecration of Armenian sites.

In the coming days, similar peaceful demonstrations raising awareness about the illegal detainment of Armenian POWs by Azerbaijan, were held outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) headquarters and in the Canberra CBD.

On the final days of the Canberra Activism Week, AYF-AU members conducted a silent protest in front of Parliament House. Members held up banners aimed at raising awareness amongst parliamentarians and political staffers on their way to work with messages, such as ‘#StopAliyev’, ‘RecognizeArtsakh’ and ‘We Stand Against Turkey, We Stand Against Azerbaijan, We Stand Against War’. Both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese were seen viewing the protestors as they approached the Hill.

Participants at this year’s Canberra Activism Week also delivered letters to member nations of the OSCE Minsk Group (France, Russia and the United States of America) and other prominent embassies urging them to assist in protecting the right to self-determination of the Republic of Artsakh.

Letters were also delivered to the Australian National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), urging for Australian support in protecting the cultural heritage of Artsakh as well as the thousands of residents displaced following the war.