Former Australian Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon joins Armenian, Assyrian, Greek calls for Genocide recognition

 Australia’s former Defense Minister and current Shadow Minister for Agriculture & Resources, Joel Fitzgibbon MP has reaffirmed his longstanding backing for national recognition of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides by signing an affirmation of support for the Joint Justice Initiative of the Armenian-Australian, Assyrian-Australian and Greek-Australian communities.

The February 2020 launch of the Joint Justice Initiative at Australia’s Parliament House featured the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU), Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) and Australian Hellenic Council (AHC), which declares Australia’s recognition of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides as a priority on behalf of their communities.

Fitzgibbon has long been a committed and vocal supporter on this cause, and has spoken on this matter in Parliament, including seconding a historic 2018 motion in Australia’s House of Representatives recognising Australia’s first major international humanitarian relief effort, which was in aid of orphans and survivors of the Armenian Genocide.

During the debate on that motion, the Federal Member for Hunter said: “I have come to the conclusion our community of nation spends too much time playing word games, arguing about whether what the Armenian people suffered in 1915 was or was not genocide. Rather, we should collectively spend more time recognising that between 1915 and 1923 hundreds of thousands of Armenians had their lives cut short for no other reason than their ethnicity. The Armenian genocide and seven decades of Soviet rule would be enough to break the spirit of any culture or community, but Armenians are resilient and tough.”

Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) Executive Director, Haig Kayserian said: “As the current co-convener of the Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Union (Friendship Group), Mr. Joel Fitzgibbon has consistently demonstrated his ongoing support for Federal Australian recognition of the 1915 Genocide.”

“Armenian-Australians, Assyrian-Australians and Greek-Australians are grateful for Mr. Fitzgibbon and his growing list of colleagues urging Australia joins the correct side of history on this important issue of human rights.”

The Joint Justice Initiative has so far announced the support of Fitzgibbon, Andrew Wilkie MP, Julian Leeser MP, Michelle Rowland MP, Senator Paul Scarr, Tony Zappia MP, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Senator Hollie Hughes, Senator Rex Patrick, Mike Freelander MP, Senator Eric Abetz, Senator Larissa Waters, Senator Pat Dodson, Jason Falinski MP, Josh Burns MP, John Alexander MP, Senator Andrew Bragg and Bob Katter MP, with a promise of more announcements to come.

On 25th February 2020, over 100 Federal Australian parliamentarians, diplomats, departmental officials, political staffers, academics, media and community leaders were treated to cultural performances, food, wine and brandy, as well as the historic signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, which affirmed that the signatory public affairs representatives of the three communities were jointly committed to seeing Australia recognize the Turkish-committed Genocide against the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian citizens of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

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