24/03/2023

New voices in Australian Parliament calling for 1915 Sayfo Genocide recognition

SYDNEY — The Sayfo Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 against the Syriac (Aramean-Chaldean-Assyrian), Armenian and Greek peoples has become one of the circulated  issues in the Australian Parliament, especially with the increasing number of Australian MPs supporting its recognition.

Recently, President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) Associate Professor Dr. Melanie O’Brien participated in the Joint Justice Initiative (JJI) Advocacy Week held at the Commonwealth Parliament.

Dr. O’Brien, a global historical authority on genocide studies spoke to parliamentarians about the atrocities.

“We are delighted Dr. O’Brien was our inaugural guest for the JJI Advocacy Week this year,” said Michael Kolokossian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).

Dr. O’Brien talked to parliamentarians about her book From Discrimination to Death: Genocide Process Through a Human Rights Lens.

Dr. O’Brien has worked closely with Australian Armenian, Syriac-Assyrian, and Greek organizations and was a keynote speaker at the 2018 National Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, including the commemoration for the centenary of the holocaust of Smyrna in Sydney, in September 2022.

“Our members conduct scholarly work with the goal of preventing and punishing genocide and aim for our work to influence policy and lawmakers,” Dr. O’Brien stated.

“It is crucial that Australia recognize the genocide of the indigenous Armenian, Assyrian and Hellenic populations of the Ottoman Empire by the Ottoman and Republican governments.”

“It is important to acknowledge the reality of the crimes committed against the victims, survivors and their descendants – some of whom are Australian citizens – and to contribute to the prevention of future genocides,” O’Brien added.