Willoughby City Council, in Sydney’s North Shore, has passed a motion recognising the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia).
On Monday 11th May 2015, Willoughby City Council – the municipality that is home to many thousands of Sydney-Armenians, as well as to Armenian churches and community centres – considered the motion, which reads: “Willoughby City Council recognises the genocide of the Armenian, Greek and Assyrians peoples by the then Ottoman Government between 1915 and 1922 and condemns these and all other acts of genocide and crimes against humanity as the ultimate act of intolerance”.
The motion was introduced in what is the Armenian Genocide’s Centenary year by long-standing friend of the Armenian-Australian community, Councillor John Hooper, and was seconded by Councillor Judith Rutherford. It passed unanimously, making Willoughby City Council the second Australian local government to recognise the Armenian Genocide after Ryde City Council.
ANC Australia’s executive director, Vache Kahramanian, addressed the Council meeting to speak in favour of the motion and on the importance of Armenian genocide recognition as a mechanism to prevent future instances of genocide being perpetrated.
Upon passage of the motion, Kahramanian remarked: “I thank Councillor Hooper and Willoughby City’s Councillors for adding their formal recognition of the Armenian genocide. Such motions send the clearest signal that genocide denial has no place in the twenty first century.”
“There is a national movement in Australia towards recognition which will ultimately lead to the Commonwealth Parliament also affirming the historical reality of the Armenian genocide,” Kahramanian added.
The motion adopted by Willoughby City Council comes only weeks after Ryde City Council reaffirmed its long standing position on the Armenian genocide.
The text of the Willoughby City Council motion reads:
- Willoughby City Council recognises the genocide of the Armenian, Greek and Assyrians peoples by the then Ottoman Government between 1915 and 1922 and condemns these and all other acts of genocide and crimes against humanity as the ultimate act of intolerance.Z
- Willoughby City Council endorses the resolution of the NSW Parliament on 17 April 1997 that it:
- recognises and condemns the Genocide of the Armenians by the then Ottoman Government between 1915 and 1922, and designated 24 April of every year thereafter as a day of remembrance of the 1.5 million Armenians who fell victim to the first genocide of the twentieth century;
- recognises that Assyrians and Greeks were subjected to qualitatively similar genocides by the then Ottoman Government between 1915 and 1922;
- reaffirms its condemnation of the genocide of the Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks, and all other acts of genocide as the ultimate act of intolerance;
- recognises the importance of remembering and learning from such dark chapters in human history to ensure that such crimes against humanity are not allowed to be repeated;
- acknowledges and pays tribute to the contribution of the Anzac servicemen who aided the survivors of the genocide; and
- acknowledges the significant humanitarian relief contribution made by the people of New South Wales to the victims and survivors of the genocide.