Australia’s Armenians Support Karabagh Resettlement

17.9.2008
News

Australia’s community commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Karabagh liberation movement by supporting resettlement efforts.
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Australia’s Armenian community recently marked the 20th anniversary of the Karabagh liberation movement, raising funds to support the resettlement of Karabagh’s Kashatagh (Lachin) district.  The August event was held in answer to the challenges laid out during a visit by the Tufenkian Foundation earlier this year.

The fundraiser took place in Sydney, and included lectures and a film on Karabagh’s dramatic history, with special emphasis on the freedom struggle waged by Armenians since the late 1980s.  The program also included congratulatory messages from Karabagh’s prime minister and foreign minister, along with musical performances.

Mr. Varoujan Iskenderian, Karabagh’s honorary consul to Australia, emphasized the strategic importance of resettling the region. He noted that Kashatagh is the primary physical link between Armenia and Karabagh.  As such, the region not only offers strategic defense and infrastructural support, but has a deep moral significance to Armenians as well.

“It is an artery for Armenians,” said Archbishop Aghan Baliozian, Primate of the Armenian Church and one of the organizers of the event.  “It is a symbol of unification.”

Despite this, Kashatagh has been embattled since the Karabagh War, and remains highly impoverished.  The district’s population has fallen from 15,000 in the late 1990s to a mere 8,000 today.

In cooperation with the Tufenkian Foundation, the NKR government has committed to bolstering Kashatagh’s population by aiding resettlers and assisting with an aggressive slate of development projects the Foundation has outlined. The projects are designed to address those obstacles that have hindered families from resettling in the district, especially by developing more functional infrastructure, health care and education networks, and promoting residents’ ability to provide for themselves and their families through the region’s native resources.

The Sydney event exceeded expectations by raising $73,000 to help fund those projects, a gesture of tremendous support by the Australian-Armenian community.

The event was organized by community leaders in cooperation with NKR Representatives Mr. and Mrs. Varoujan Iskenderian, Archbishop Baliozian, and Australia’s three Armenian political parties.

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