Jonathan O’Dea remembers Armenian victims of Sumgait Massacres in NSW Parliament


SYDNEY: The Chair of the NSW Australia Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group, Jonathan O’Dea MP has remembered the Sumgait Massacres of Armenians by Azerbaijan in a Private Members’ Statement in the NSW State Parliament.

After acknowledging the upcoming 101st Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, which will be commemorated next month, O’Dea said: “In a similar vein, but of more recent memory, many people mourn and honour the victims of the ant-Armenian Azerbaijani attacks in Sumgait and Baku from 1988 to 1990.”

“The February 1988 anti-Armenian rallies through Azerbaijan gave way to waves of ethnically motivated violence, death and destruction.”

“Consequently, Azerbaijan’s Armenian community all but disappeared, with thousands displaced, culminating in a war involving the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, otherwise known as Artsakh”, added O’Dea when referring to the Sumgait and Baku Pogroms, while recognising that tensions and border skirmishes are still a reality today despite a ceasefire from 1994.

O’Dea continued: “I am proud to support the Armenian-Australian community… in remembrance of such tragic events. While it is important to promote tolerance, justice, and democratic freedom, recognising and remembering the past will also help ensure that dark historic events are not repeated.”

To conclude his speech, O’Dea paid tribute to those contributing towards more positive outcomes for the future, specifically mentioning the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia) and Baroness Caroline Cox from the UK’s House of Lords.

ANC Australia’s Executive Administrator, Arin Markarian said: “We thank Mr. O’Dea for highlighting those matters of importance to the Armenian-Australian community, including the Sumgait and Baku pogroms, while also remembering the victims of the Armenian Genocide, and those Armenians and other minorities who suffer persecution in Syria.”

Markarian added: “As Chair of the NSW Australia-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group, Mr. O’Dea continues to be a great advocate for the moral truths that come with Armenian history and a wonderful supporter of our Armenian community. For this, he should be greatly commended.”

Photo: Jonathan O’Dea