Reaction of the S.E.C.A. Victoria’s reaction against the establishment of the “Parliamentary Group of Friends of Azerbaijan”

18 June, 2024

THE S.E.C.A. Victoria on Tuesday, 18 June 2024, sent a letter to the Parliament of Victoria, expressing the deep concern and opposition of the Greek- and Cypriot-Australian community to the proposal to establish a Parliamentary Friends of Azerbaijan group in Victoria. Please find below the letter in full for your information and to take into account the concerns and appeals expressed by the community.

Greek- and Cypriot-Australian objections to the establishment of a Parliamentary Friends of Azerbaijan group in Victoria

Dear Members of the Victorian Parliament,

We are writing to express the Greek- and Cypriot-Australian community’s deep concern following information that some members of the Victorian Parliament are considering the establishment of a Parliamentary Friends of Azerbaijan group.

We further  wish to express solidarity with Armenian-Australians and other civil society bodies who have written to you to condemn this initiative to provide a platform for the Azerbaijani regime here in our parliament. Such an initiative can only serve to whitewash the Azerbaijani dictatorships crimes against indigenous Armenians, human-rights activists, journalists and political dissidents.

As Cypriot-Australians, we understand the agony and trauma faced by our Armenian brethren. The military attack launched by Azerbaijan in September 2023 and the subsequent complete ethnic cleansing of the Republic of Artsakh’s (Nagorno-Karabakh’s) 150,000 Armenians brings back the similar pain and trauma of the occupation of Cyprus, which was imposed by force 50 years ago.

Azerbaijan’s unprovoked military attack eight months ago, which forced all Armenians in Artsakh to flee their homeland, coupled with the litany of crimes committed by Azerbaijan, including the occupation of 215 square kilometers of territory within the sovereign borders of Armenia, desecration of religious and cultural heritage, and the brutal inhuman treatment of prisoners of war—all these make any attempt to establish such a forum reprehensible.

We call on Natalie Suleyman MP and David Southwick MP to rescind their invitation to an inaugural meeting on Wednesday 19 June 2024. Should they fail to do so, we call on every single Member of the Victorian Parliament to take a principled stance and ignore their invitation.

Attendance and participation in such a forum would send an inappropriate message, legitimising the crimes of Azerbaijan. Each of you, as elected members, must take a principled stand and send a message to Azerbaijan that you will not allow the crimes of Azerbaijanis against indigenous Armenians and your own citizens to go unanswered.

We, as Victorians and citizens of a free and democratic state, must stand with the people of Armenia as they endure one of the darkest chapters in their modern history. We can do better. We must do better.

We thank you in advance for your consideration of this urgent matter, and hope you make the right choice.

Yours Sincerely

Pavlos Andronikos,

President, Σ.E.K.A. Victoria


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