Sydney – 31 May, 2013
Prestigious awards were presented by the Assyrian Universal Alliance to two Australian leaders who moved a motion on May 1 and 8, 2013 at the legislative Council and the legislative Assembly of NSW State Parliament, recognising the Assyrian, Armenian and Greek genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Christians of Anatolia during WWI.
The ceremony took place on 30 May, 2013 at the NSW Parliament House during a special reception organized by the chairman of Assyria Parliamentary Friendship Group, Mr. Andrew Rohan, MP, State Member for Smithfield. The event was attended by many members of both upper and lower houses of the NSW Parliament along with representatives from the Assyrian, Armenian, Greek and Jewish organizations, and many prominent people.
Several speeches were delivered during the event including Mr. Andrew Rohan, MP, followed by both deputies of the Assyria Parliamentary Friendship Group; Mr. Guy Zingari, MP, Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Communities and the Hon. David Clarke, MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for Justice. A moving speech was delivered by the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, MP, Minister for Transport, followed by Rev. the Hon. Fred Nile, MLC, and the Hon. Marie Ficcara, MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier.
The Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) was represented by Mr. Hermiz Shahen, AUA’s Deputy Secretary General, together with Mr. David M. David, Regional Secretary of AUA in Australia, Mr. Ninos Aaron, chairman of Young Assyrians of AUA, Mrs. Suzy David, AUA advisor, and Mr. George Dadisho, an Assyrian youth.
“The 1st and 8th of May, 2013 will mark very important days in the Assyrian calendar in Australia and abroad, it is an extraordinary moment in the history of the Assyrian nation, who have been struggling for years to gain the international recognition of the genocide perpetrated against them by the Ottoman government. This recognition will act as a powerful counter to those, especially in present-day Turkey, who still ignore or deny outright the genocides of the Ottoman Christian minorities. Assyrians in Iraq, Syria and Turkey are continuously paying the price as a consequence of the denial of their genocide. Our people are being systematically driven out from our ancestral lands in Iraq and Syria. Assyrians have been subject to gross violations of their rights. Murder, rape, assault, and forced conversions to Islam have become commonplace as armed death squads attempt to force Assyrians out of their habitats,” Mr. Hermiz Shahen said in his speech.
Mr. Shahen continued, “The Three nations that suffered this horrific genocide will always remember with pride and honour the Australian and New Zealand’s heroes who were eyewitnesses to the genocides. Anzacs had rescued survivors of the massacres and deportations across the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1918, making the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocides a part of the Australian story. This great justice that we are celebrating today would not have been possible without the courageous stand again of two great leaders who moved this motion in both houses, mainly, Rev. the Hon. Fred Nile, MLC and the Hon. Barry O’Farrell, Premier of New South Wales, and of course together with the contribution and support of all the esteemed parties in this parliament.”
In his final remarks, Mr. Shahen thanked the Parliament members who were the driving force behind this success, the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, MP, The Hon. Amanda Fazio, MLC, Dr. John Kaye, MLC, Mr. John Robertson, MP, Mr. Guy Zangari, MP, Mr. Andrew Rohan, MP, and many others who stood with the Armenian national Committee, the Assyrian Universal Alliance and the Hellenic Council of NSW.
Along with other AUA activists, Mr. Shahen presented two awards to Rev. the Hon. Fred Nile, MLC and the Hon. Barry O’Farrell, Premier of New South Wales, who moved this historical motion in both houses.
The reception concluded with other speeches delivered by representatives of the Armenian national Committee, the Australian Hellenic Educators, Mr Wilson Younan of the SBS Radio and Mr. Emmanuel Sada of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM).
Assyrian Universal Alliance
PO Box 34, Fairfield NSW 1860 Australia