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Federal and state lawmakers joining Genocide Commemoration in Sydney

Federal and state lawmakers joining Genocide Commemoration in Sydney

PanARMENIAN.Net - The National Armenian Genocide Commemoration Evening on Wednesday 24th April 2019 - which will honour the 104th anniversary of the 1.5 million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians who were massacred by Ottoman Turkey in 1915 - will feature strong Federal and New South Wales Parliamentary representation, led by Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Berejiklian was recently returned to office, this time making history as the first female to be popularly elected Premier of Australia's largest state of New South Wales.

The first female to serve as Premier of New South Wales, and now serving in the Upper House of Australia's Federal Parliament, Senator Kristina Keneally will also be in attendance at The Concourse Chatswood, along with her Federal parliamentary colleagues from the House of Representatives in Trent Zimmerman (Chair of the Armenia-Australia Inter-Parliamentary Union Friendship Group) and John Alexander.

Other NSW State Parliamentarians who will be in attendance includes the new Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Jonathan O'Dea (Chair of NSW Parliamentary Friends of Armenia), Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello, as well as Members of the Legislative Council Walt Secord (Vice Chair of NSW Parliamentary Friends of Armenia), Abigail Boyd and Fred Nile.

There will be several members of local governments also in attendance, led by the Mayor of the City of Willoughby, Gail Gidney-Giles.

"Our community is honoured to be remembering our fallen ancestors along with friends in politics; elected officials who have stood in Parliaments, advocating for recognition and justice for the Armenian Genocide," commented Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) Executive Director, Haig Kayserian.

"Premier Gladys Berejiklian is the granddaughter of Armenian genocide survivors, while the others who have confirmed their attendance are made up of both new and long-time supporters of the Armenian cause," Kayserian added.

The National Armenian Genocide Commemoration Evening, organised by the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee (AGCC) of Australia, will include a keynote address by the Vice President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, Dr. Melanie O'Brien. Dr. O'Brien is a Senior Lecturer of International Law at the University of Western Australia, teaching International Humanitarian Law, Public International Law, and Research units.

Dr. O'Brien's keynote address at the National Armenian Genocide Commemoration Evening is titled "Social Death: The Armenian Genocide and Cultural Destruction", where she will be speaking to photographs she has personally taken of specific sites of Armenian heritage that were destroyed, proving that targeting religion and culture is as much a tactic of genocide as physical destruction.

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres and deportations, involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, Italy, 45 U.S. states, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Argentina, Belgium, Austria, Wales, Switzerland, Canada, Poland, Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, the Vatican, Luxembourg, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Sweden, Venezuela, Slovakia, Syria, Vatican, as well as the European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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