On Monday 9 May 2022, the most Armenian populated municipality in Australia, the City of Ryde raised the flag of the Republic of Artsakh at Kissing Point Park, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).
The flag of Artsakh, which is currently under occupation after a brutal 44-day offensive launched against the self-determined Armenian Republic by the Azerbaijani and Turkish dictatorships, will fly alongside the Australian flag for the next two weeks after a solidarity motion was passed by the City of Ryde Council.
The motion was moved by Mayor Jordan Lane with the support of Armenian-Australian Councillor Sarkis Yedelian reaffirming the City of Ryde’s commitment to friendship city, Artsakh’s capital Stepanakert. The Resolution can be viewed here.
The formal ceremony took place in the presence of over 30 Armenian-Australian community leaders as Armenians worldwide and the people of Artsakh celebrated the anniversary of the liberation of Shushi, currently one of the many ancestral Armenian towns under occupation by Azerbaijani forces.
Councillor Yedelian welcomed attendees and commenced the ceremony’s formalities with a minute’s silence honouring the thousands of innocent Armenian victims who lost their lives in the 44-day Nagorno Karabakh war. Mayor Jordan Lane affirmed Council’s support for the Armenian-Australian community of Ryde and the people of Artsakh in their fight against modern manifestations of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
Armenian-Australian community leaders who were present at ceremony also heard from the the Republic of Artsakh’s Permanent Representative in Australia, Kaylar Michaelian, ANC-AU Political Affairs Director Michael Kolokossian and Archbishop of the Armenian Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, His Eminence Haigzaoun Najarian
Michaelian thanked the City of Ryde Councillors for their ongoing commitment to the Armenian people of Artsakh.
“We express our deepest appreciation to Mayor Jordan Lane, Councillor Sarkis Yedelian and all the City of Ryde Councillors for this special event, which will bring pride and joy to the people of Artsakh, who are comforted knowing 14,000km away in Australia there are good people who value the importance of human rights,” he said.
ANC-AU Political Affairs Director, Michael Kolokossian echoed these sentiments.
“The City of Ryde remains the yardstick among cities around the world saying no to illegal occupation by force, and no to Azerbaijan’s trampling over the indigenous Armenian people of Artsakh’s human right to self-determination, independence and democracy,” Kolokossian said.
The ceremony concluded with the official raising of the Republic of Artsakh flag conducted by Homenetmen Ararat Scouts member George Keshishian.
In 2019, the City of Ryde unanimously voted on a resolution to form a Friendship City with the capital of Republic of Artsakh, Stepanakert.
Councillor Jerome Laxale, a candidate for the Federal seat of Bennelong and the City of Ryde’s Mayor when the Council recognised Artsakh’s independence and formed the Friendship City relationship with Stepanakert, declared his pride at this latest show of solidarity.
“I am proud to be part of a City Council that has always championed the rights to self-determination of the Armenian Republic of Artsakh. As Mayor, I seconded motions recognising Artsakh and forming a Friendship City with its capital Stepanakert,” Laxale said.
“Today, the City of Ryde raised the Artsakh flag at Kissing Point Wharf, in support of the occupied Republic. I salute the people of Artsakh, which is always Armenian,” added Laxale.
Simon Kennedy, also a candidate for Bennelong, added: “We have a proud Armenian community here in Bennelong and Monday’s flag raising event was a powerful symbol of the bond between our local community and the people of the Republic of Artsakh.”
“I congratulate everyone involved in this initiative, particularly the Armenian National Committee for their advocacy and the City of Ryde for this powerful symbolic gesture,” added Kennedy.