Australian politician speaks on Western Armenia visit

Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, Walt Secord, who is also the Deputy Co-Chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Armenian Group, delivered a powerful speech in Parliament recounting his recent visit to Western Armenia, reports.

Secord made history in 2011 by becoming the first Australian politician to visit the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh. And in December 2012, Secord returned to Armenia to take part in an expedition to Western Armenia and visit towns and cities, which were completely emptied during the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.

The tour, which commenced in Yerevan, took Secord north through Gyumri, into the heavily Armenian populated region of Javakhk in Georgia, and then onto the cities of Kars, Van, Ani, Idgir and Akhtamar.

Upon his return to Australia, Secord remarked: “My visit to western Armenia was the most interesting study tour I have undertaken in my life.”

The seven-day visit, which was organized and partially funded by the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia), allowed Secord to continue his “exploration of the Armenian genocide”, and allowed him to “see modern Turkey within the context of the interaction between Islam and the West”.

The trip put into perspective the extensive destruction of the Armenian populated regions during the Armenian genocide.

In his speech in Parliament, Secord said: “Of course, official denial is a vital component of oppression and genocide. This is why I will never apologise for my inquiry into the Armenian story or my support for the Armenian community. As I have said in Yerevan, in the Parliament of New South Wales and on many other occasions, it is repugnant for Turkey to deny the deaths of the 1.5 million Armenians.”

Executive Director of ANC Australia, Vache Kahramanian thanked Secord for his continued support to ensure the recognition of the Armenian genocide and for his continued support of the Armenian-Australian community.

“We are grateful for Mr. Secord’s continued efforts in ensuring the just recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” Kahramanian said.

“This trip allowed for the Honourable Member to experience first hand the destruction that fell upon the Armenian people nearly a century ago. Mr. Secord is a dear friend of the Armenian-Australian community and a true champion of human rights.”

Walt Secord will again visit Armenia as part of the New South Wales Parliamentary Friends of Armenian Group delegation in July this year.


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