Dr Sophie Scamps raises Artsakh blockade in Australian Federal Parliament

Federal Member for Mackellar, Dr Sophie Scamps , has risen in the Australian Federation Chamber to deliver a Constituency Statement on Monday, 27 March 2023 discussing the ongoing Artsakh Blockade, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).

Scamps, who is a member of the Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Union, rose following a visit from local Armenian-Australian students from the AGBU Alexander Primary School who hand-delivered a letter to Dr Scamps at her office in Mackellar.

Dr Scamps said, “A couple of weeks ago, I was treated to a surprise visit in my electorate office by students of the AGBU Alexander Primary School in Duffys Forest in my electorate of Mackellar. AGBU is an independent, co-educational, bilingual English and Armenian Christian school. While I’m absolutely delighted to have received a visit from these year 5 and 6 students, they came with a very serious message. The students presented me with a letter they had written, asking me to address the Australian parliament on a very important matter: the ongoing blockade of the Lachin corridor in Artsakh since 12 December 2022, as part of the ongoing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.”

“The Lachin corridor is a road that connects the Republic of Artsakh to the Republic of Armenia. The letter went on to explain how the supply of food and medicine is running dangerously low as a result of the blockade, and gas supply between Armenia and Artsakh has been cut off.”

“There is a vibrant Armenian community in my electorate of Mackellar, and I’ve had many representations from those people in addition to the schoolchildren. On their behalf, I have made representations to Foreign Minister Wong’s office about this ongoing crisis and met with foreign department specialists to discuss the matter. The crisis affecting the people of Artsakh must not be forgotten or overlooked while the world is distracted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

In early January, Dr Scamps took to Twitter condemning Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh and called on the petro-dictatorship to “end its blockade of the region and allow much-needed food, medicines and supplies into the region.”

ANC-AU Executive Director Michael Kolokossian welcomed the advocacy efforts undertaken by the Year 5 and Year 6 students of AGBU Alexander Primary School.

“During this difficult time, every Armenian-Australian must be advocating for an end to this illegal blockade. It is heartening to see the youngest members of our community play a key role in standing up for their homeland.”

“We thank Dr Scamps for engaging with the Armenian-Australian community and bringing this issue to the floor of parliament. Her principled stance is greatly appreciated as we work to end this blockade,” added Kolokossian.

Scamps joins Paul Fletcher – Member for Bradfield, Jerome Laxale – Member for Bennelong, Janet Rice – Senator for Victoria and Simon Birmingham – Senator for Australia, in raising the Artsakh Blockade in the Australian Federal Parliament.

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