Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly members, Michael Pettersson and Peter Cain have become the first two members in the territory parliament to speak in support of the people of the Republic of Artsakh, delivering powerful speeches as Nagorno Karabakh remains under blockade, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).
Both Pettersson, the Member for Yerrabi, and Cain, the Member for Ginninderra, have worked closely with the ANC-AU Canberra branch over the last couple of years, lending the community their ears to discuss issues of their importance.
Pettersson, a member of the ACT Government, who penned a letter to the Australian Foreign Minister on the blockade in February this year, said, “This situation is very concerning, so much so that the International Court of Justice has ordered that Azerbaijan reopen the Lachin corridor. Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have declared this to be a humanitarian crisis and called for an end to the blockade.”
“We must stand in solidarity with civilians suffering under blockade, which is why I join with Canberra’s Armenian community in calling for the immediate cessation of the blockade.” Pettersson continued.
Peter Cain, who visited the Armenian stall at the 2023 National Multicultural Festival, rose in the chamber immediately after Pettersson, and said, “The Lachin corridor is Artsakh’s only access to the outside world, so the impact of this blockade on residents is enormous. Due to this enforced isolation, there are significant shortages of food, fuel, medicine and power, which is fostering a devastating humanitarian crisis.”
ANC-AU Executive Director Michael Kolokossian praised the Armenian-Australian community in Canberra and said, “Our community in Canberra may only be a couple of hundred, but their voices are loud and their presence in the nation’s capital is being noticed. Well done.”
“In the face of hardship, Artsakh refuses to be silenced by a warmongering dictatorship. United, the people of Artsakh vow to persist indefinitely, and this unwavering commitment is encouraging parliamentarians from across this country to stand in support of their human rights. We thank Mr Cain and Mr Pettersson for their solidarity,” added Kolokossian.