CANBERRA, Australia—The Armenian National Committee of Australia has appealed to Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne, requesting emergency aid from the Australian Government to assist in alleviating the stress placed on Armenia due to it facing a full-scale humanitarian crisis.
On September 27, Azerbaijani forces launched large-scale air and artillery strikes along their entire line-of-contact with the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), a self-determined state made up of indigenous Armenians in the South Caucasus. This war escalated over the ensuing months to include non-stop shelling of Stepanakert, Artsakh’s capital of 50,000 civilians, as well as many other civilian populated villages.
As a result of Azerbaijan’s Turkey-backed and Islamist terrorist-fuelled military aggression, and subsequent occupation of what are ancestral Armenian lands, over 50,000 Nagorno Karabakh civilians presently find themselves displaced and in asylum within the borders of the Republic Armenia, resulting in a significant socio-economic toll on a country already dealing with an extended and debilitating outbreak of COVID-19.
The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) has elaborated on these factors in its appeal to the Australian Government to provide critical emergency aid to address the growing humanitarian crisis in Armenia.
“The Armenian-Australian community’s hearts and minds remain with their displaced and suffering compatriots in Armenia, and this call for emergency assistance from Canberra will prove integral to Yerevan’s ability to save lives and eventually return people to their ancestral homes,” said ANC-AU Executive Director, Haig Kayserian.
“Facing such military aggression during a pandemic is catastrophic to such a small nation and as such, international assistance from countries like Australia is fundamental to support Armenia through to recovery.”
“Australians were at the forefront in providing relief to Armenian Genocide survivors in 1915, when then-Prime Minister Billy Hughes provided free freight via the Commonwealth Steamers for the goods collected by the relief committees,” Kayserian added. “A century on, the Armenian people are yet again faced with a humanitarian crisis that requires the assistance and generosity of the Australian Government.”
Kayserian said that the Armenian-Australian community looks forward to Australia’s exemplary assistance for Lebanon following the Beirut Blast being extended to Armenia, which is facing its own crisis.
“We applauded our Government’s provision of aid to Lebanon following the Beirut Blast in August 2020, and are looking forward to a continued manifestation of the Australian values that led to that assistance,” Kayserian said.
“We have provided avenues for Canberra to support Armenia through United Nations-certified relief organizations on the ground in Yerevan, and look forward to receiving a positive outcome.”