ARMENIA'S RESPONSE TO AZERI XENOPHOBIA INADEQUATE - DEBATE

TERT.AM
29.01.13

The Congress of Armenian Refugees from Azerbaijan held on Tuesday
a round table to discuss Azerbaijan's Armenophobic policies and
Armenia's failure to provide an adequate response.

The debate entitled "The Safarov Country: The Western Caspian Nations
and the World" had brought together representatives of political
organizations and NGOs, who expressed concerns of the Azerbaijan's
large-scale Armenophobia and Armenia's failure to react adequately.

Armine Aghabekyan, a member of the Xenophobia Prevention Initiative,
said in her speech that such policies do not signal positive
developments for future. "We are unable to prevent the Armenophobic
propaganda today, so the future holds nothing good in store for us,"
she noted.

As a possible solution, Aghabekyan proposed seeking Iran's help. "We
can ask Iran for help, seeking its influence - at least through NGOs,
if not on the government level - on Azerbaijan as an Islamic country.

They must not be in the dark about these issues, given especially that
Azerbaijan often solves such problems on behalf of Iran," she said.

Larisa Alaverdyan, a former ombudsman who now heads a human rights
NGO, stressed the importance of reaching a solution based on Armenia's
positions. She referred to a recent statement calling for measures to
term the 1988-1994 Armenian massacres in Azerbaijani cities and towns
(Baku, Sumgait etc), and Nagorno-Karabakh crimes of genocide.

"Genocide was for many years linked to 1915 and the Western Armenia.

But that also happened in Baku and Shushi," she said, noting that
the National Assembly had earlier rejected the bill, excluding it
from its big agenda.

Alaverdyan said it is important for the parliament to treat the issue
as the continuation of Genocide. "I don't speak of demanding a world
recognition. But we could have achieved what we wanted to by exposing
the problem literately," she added.

Alaverdyan thinks the Armenian authorities are lagging behind, relying
mostly on NGO efforts. "I strongly doubt that we will manage to turn to
the European Court, so the United Nations is the only option left. One
cannot act on an NGO level while having a government," she said.