SYDNEY–The Armenian National Committee of Australia has welcomed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Aboriginal "Stolen Generations" in what is considered a fundamental step toward reconciliation and righting past wrongs.
Addressing a packed House of Representatives in Canberra on Wednesday, Mr. Rudd apologised to indigenous Australians, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, for past laws and policies that had "inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on [indigenous] fellow Australians".
"For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry," the Prime Minister said.
"To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry," he added. "And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry."
The Opposition, led by its leader Dr. Brendan Nelson, supported the Prime Minister’s apology.
In a statement released today, ANC Australia President Varant Meguerditchian described Prime Minister Rudd as "a leader with conviction".
"Our Prime Minister has set an international moral high bar by taking responsibility for past human rights violations and apologizing unconditionally for the wrongs of his predecessors," said Meguerditchian.
Speaking on behalf of the Armenian community of Australia, Meguerditchian added: "We hope that the Australian Parliament’s apology to the Aboriginal people for past wrongs will set an example for, and encourage, the Government of Turkey to abandon its denialist policy, to recognize the Armenian Genocide and to embrace reconciliation with the Armenian people."