SEKA Victoria objects to formation of Parliamentary Friends of Azerbaijan group

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SEKA Victoria (the Justice for Cyprus Co-ordinating Committee) have today expressed the Greek and Cypriot Australian community’s concerns that some members of the Victorian Parliament are considering the establishment of a Parliamentary Friends of Azerbaijan group.

In a letter sent to Victorian MPs on Tuesday, June 18, SEKA Victoria President Pavlos Andronikos called on Natalie Suleyman MP and David Southwick MP to rescind their plans to hold an inaugural Parliamentary Friends of Azerbaijan meeting on Wednesday, June 19.

“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,” Mr Andronikos wrote.

The SEKA Victoria President also expressed solidarity with Armenian-Australians and other civil society bodies who have condemned the parliamentary initiative.

“Such an initiative can only serve to whitewash the Azerbaijani dictatorships crimes against indigenous Armenians, human-rights activists, journalists and political dissidents,” Mr Andronikos said.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have already fought two wars over Karabakh in the three decades
Armenia and Azerbaijan have already fought two wars over Karabakh in the three decades.

“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.”

Mr Andronikos said Azerbaijan’s unprovoked attack eight months ago, which forced all Armenians in Artsakh to flee, compounded by crimes like occupying 215 square kilometers of territory within the sovereign borders of Armenia, desecrating religious and cultural heritage, and mistreating prisoners of war, makes “any attempt to establish such a forum reprehensible.”

“Attendance and participation in such a forum would send an inappropriate message, legitimising the crimes of Azerbaijan,” Mr Andronikos stressed.

“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.”

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