Australian Government urged to reconsider aid to Armenians in light of assistance to Ukraine

The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) has written to Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon. Marise Payne, urging the Australian Government to reconsider the Armenian-Australian community’s request for emergency humanitarian assistance to tens of thousands of Armenians still suffering the consequences of Azerbaijan’s unprovoked attacks against Armenians in 2020.

This follows the Australian Government’s announcement on 1 March 2022, to provide a total of $105 million to help meet the urgent needs of the Ukrainian people––$75 million in military assistance and $35 million in emergency humanitarian support.

The ANC-AU first appealed to Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister for emergency humanitarian aid in February 2021, requesting financial support to assist the displaced inhabitants of the Republic of Artsakh, and injured and captured Armenians from the 2020 Nagorno Karabakh war.

The peak Armenian-Australian public affairs body’s request for aid through humanitarian organisations on the ground in Armenia received support from a long list of Federal parliamentarians, as well as the New South Wales Australia-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group in a letter co-signed by the Chair, Jonathan O’Dea MP and Vice-Chair Walt Secord MLC.

In light of Australia’s exemplary support to the Ukrainian people, the ANC-AU has elaborated on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region and the urgent need for assistance to alleviate the stress on Armenians in their letter.

“Whilst our community praises Australia’s generosity and support for Ukraine, Lebanon and India, we feel neglected and forgotten when considering our Government’s lack of action and failure to provide humanitarian aid to our Armenian brothers and sisters,” said ANC-AU Executive Director Haig Kayserian.

“We have explained to Foreign Minister Marise Payne that Azerbaijan’s policy of ethnically cleansing the Armenian Republic of Artsakh continues unabated, with the dictatorship recently cutting off gas supply in increasingly freezing temperatures for the region’s indigenous Armenians.”

“In addition, we elaborated that Armenians still require immediate emergency assistance from nations worldwide to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis, including the internal displacement of refugees that have lost their homes to war and the after-effects of Azerbaijan’s aggression and the ongoing captivity of Armenian prisoners of war by Baku,” Kayserian added.

“The Armenian National Committee of Australia has urged the Australian Government to reassess its formal decision not to provide humanitarian assistance to the tens of thousands of Armenian men, women and children currently facing ongoing threats in terms of health, safety and well-being following the precedents that have been set during the Ukraine conflict.”

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