Representatives from the leadership of 6 of the ARF’s student associations, 17 of its youth organizations, and 17 of its junior groups were in attendance at the conference. The total number of delegates was 49, with participants from such distant countries as Canada, the United States, France, Greece, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Artsakh, and Armenia.
The 3-day meeting examined the most critical issues facing the Armenian youth today. It reviewed some of the obstacles for the ARF’s youth and student organizations around the world and formulated concrete strategies for overcoming them, placing specific emphasis on the need to carry out work which strengthens ties between youth in Armenia and the Diaspora.
Conference participants also focused their attention on the recently signed Armenia-Turkey Protocols, once again, expressing their opposition against the many preconditions inherent within the agreement. The conference unanimously demanded that the Armenian government immediately cease its participation in the Protocol process and adopt a position in its foreign affairs which respects the dignity and rights of the Armenian people. It was stressed that relations between Armenia and Turkey must be based on the latter’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the right of Armenians to have restored the lands from which they were removed and exiled.
On the issue of Artsakh, the meeting made clear that the only alternative to independence is Artsakh’s official reunification with the Republic of Armenia. There is no other alternative to these two options. The conference affirmed that the destiny of Artsakh must remain within the hands of its population and that Armenian youth around the world stand ready to defend its security, rights, and freedom. The meeting also called on the international community to immediately take steps to halt Azerbaijan’s hostile threats and constant war rhetoric.
The Georgian government’s biased policies toward its Armenian population were also examined by the conference and deemed to be both unacceptable and reprehensible. The continued suppression of the rights of the Armenians in Javakhk and the destruction of cultural-historic monuments in Tbilisi are the most recent manifestations of this anti-Armenian tendency. The solution to this unhealthy condition is the autonomy of Javakhk within a federated Georgia and the guaranteed protection of the cultural rights for all Armenians living in Georgia.
Conference attendees also reaffirmed their commitment to continue struggling for the establishment of social justice, protection of human rights, and development of genuine democracy for all citizens within the Republic of Armenia.
The highest international conference of ARF youth and student organizations called on all Armenian youth worldwide to remain vigilant against foreign pressure, to consciously follow political developments, stand up against the domestic and international suppression of Armenian people’s rights, and to vehemently express its will in these trying times for our people’s destiny.
International Conference of ARF Youth and Student Organizations
20 December 2009