Australian House of Representatives urges government to recognise Armenian Genocide

30 November 2021

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The Australian House of Representatives has passed a motion urging the federal government to officially recognise the Armenian Genocide.

The motion calls upon the government to recognise “the genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923 of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and other Christian minorities”.

Trent Zimmerman, MP for North Sydney – who earlier this year along with Joel Fitzgibbon MP accepted the Barnabas Fund petition calling for genocide recognition – formally introduced the motion on 29 November.

Trent Zimmerman (centre) lays flowers at the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, Armenia [Image credit:]

Mr Zimmerman described the Armenian Genocide as “one of the greatest tragedies of the modern era”, arguing that “Australia must play its part by joining what has been a small but growing number of nations that have recognised the Armenian and other genocides of the Ottoman regime”.

For the “Armenian, Assyrian and Greek people, and their diasporas, that great loss haunts their communities,” added Mr Zimmerman. “So many count grandparents and other relatives among the dead.”

Mr Zimmerman concluded that recognition of the genocide was part of “our efforts to prevent these tragedies from occurring again”.

The motion was supported by a cross-party group of MPs, and passed unopposed.

“The Australian Parliament’s largest and most representative legislative chamber has unanimously called on Australia’s Government to recognise the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides,” said Haig Kayserian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Australia.

The news follows increasing calls within Australia for the government to recognise the Armenian Genocide.

Between 1893 and 1923 some 1.5 million Armenians were killed in the Ottoman Empire in a policy of extermination of Christian minorities. In addition, some 2.25 million Assyrian, Greek and Syriac Christians were also killed within Ottoman territories between 1914 and 1923, making a total of 3.75 million Christians killed.

In November 2021 a bill to recognise the Armenian Genocide passed its first reading in the UK House of Commons, while a similar bill was introduced in the Knesset (Israeli parliament).

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