CANBERRA: Retiring Member of Australia’s Federal Parliament, Michael Danby used his valedictory speech in the House of Representatives to reflect on a career where he has advocated for human rights causes around the world, including for the Armenians demanding justice for the Armenian Genocide.

The outgoing Member for Melbourne Ports told Parliament: “I stand up for human rights here and around the world provided the cause is principally non-violent. I’m here for the Kurds, the Armenians, the Uygurs, the Tibetans, the Dafuris, the Baha’is and prisoners in North Korean concentration camps.”

The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) has thanked Danby for his steadfast commitment to raising important awareness for the Armenian Genocide and many other important human rights causes.

“Mr. Danby retires tall, having defended what would have been forgotten human rights issues throughout his career in public office,” said ANC-AU Executive Director, Haig Kayserian. “The Australian Parliament would be poorer without Danby unless those who take his place continue this proud legacy.”

Danby has spoken on recognition of the Armenian Genocide on several occasions throughout his distinguished Parliamentary career. Last December, speaking on a motion honouring the 70th Anniversary of UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, he said: “It was Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish lawyer from Poland, who coined the term ‘genocide’ in response to the extent of the atrocities inflicted on the Armenian people—1½ million people, as the member for Berowra [Julian Leeser MP] said. Apparently it wasn’t understood or known before that. Of course, in that conflict with Turkey, many Greek and Assyrian people of the Ottoman Empire were equally badly affected.”

But the non-remembrance of it had a specific effect… Adolf Hitler told a leading group of Nazi generals, meeting in the days before the commencement of the Second World War, words to the effect, ‘Who remembers the Armenians?’ He said this phrase because it presaged what his aggressive plans in eastern Europe were. They were issued at Obersalzberg on the eve of the Second World War to say that Germany was going to launch a racial war in eastern Europe. It was not a war of nation against nation. He was assuring his generals and gauleiters that they could get away with it because of what had happened to the Armenians.”

“The Armenian genocide remains unrecognised. Again, it was one of the great moments to see a son of Armenian heritage, Mr Joe Hockey, the former member for North Sydney, raise this, and I think it’s great work by the member for Goldstein [Tim Wilson MP) and by the Armenian National Committee to raise this issue. Well done. This is an issue that the parliament will continue to address, until we officially pass recognition of what happened to the Armenians.”

In addition, Danby referred to the Armenian Genocide in a 2012 speech to the Federal Parliament: “Confronting the past is closely linked to security, stability and democracy in the Middle East. Persistent denial of historical injustices not only impedes democratization but also hampers stable relations between different ethnic and religious groups.”

“This is particularly true in former Ottoman lands, where people view one another in the cloaks of their ancestors. The reverberations of the Armenian genocide continue to reverberate throughout Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.”