Australia’s former Defense Minister, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP has risen in the Parliament’s Federation Chamber calling on Australia to publicly condemn Azerbaijan’s belligerent actions and war crimes on the first anniversary of the 2020 Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) War, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia.
The Federal Member for Hunter, who is Co-Convenor of the Armenia-Australia Inter-Parliamentary Union (Friendship Group/Caucus) and a member of the Australian Friends of Artsakh network, made his important comments as part of an address in Australia’s Parliament on 25th October 2021.
Fitzgibbon highlighted the efforts undertaken by Armenian-Australians to raise awareness about Azerbaijan’s Turkish-backed aggression and called on Australia to take action.
“Armenian-Australians have joined the diaspora around the world in calling for the international community to call out Azerbaijan to stop their belligerent activities. Australia should do just that,” Fitzgibbon said.
“A number of countries, including France, the USA and bodies such as the European Parliament have rightly publicly condemned Azerbaijan’s deliberate violations of international law,” he added.
“We should join with the many across the globe by making our opinions about the situation in Artsakh well-known and by recognising the right of self-determination for the people of Artsakh.”
The three-minute statement began with Fitzgibbon reflecting on Azerbaijan’s indiscriminate attacks on the indigenous Armenian homeland, which began on 27th September 2020.
“The Azerbaijani invasion resulted in the death of around 5000 young Armenian men, Azerbaijani forces destroyed civilian infrastructure, including hundreds of schools and places of worship. More than 100,000 civilians have been displaced,” Fitzgibbon said, while going on to acknowledge the devastating effects and trauma the 44-day war has had on the Armenian-Australian community.
“The Armenian-Australian community has been in an overwhelming state of devastation, shock and despair, as they have witnessed their homeland desecrated at the hands of Azerbaijani forces, including paid Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries.”
“This conflict is a test for the robustness of our international architecture and the rule-based order we all rely so much upon. We must pass the test,” Fitzgibbon concluded.
The Armenian National Committee of Australia’s (ANC-AU) Executive Director, Haig Kayserian thanked Fitzgibbon for his remarks.
“As Australia’s former Defence Minister, Mr. Joel Fitzgibbon is an ally for peace and his comments speak volumes of the atrocities being faced by Armenians in the homeland,” Kayserian said.
“We thank Mr Fitzgibbon for putting the concerns of Armenian-Australians on the public record in our nation’s Parliament, as we do what we can as a community to support our brothers and sisters in the Republics of Artsakh and Armenia.”