Assembly of Armenians of Western Armenia
Speech 1 – WIPO from 5 to 9 June 2023
Madam President, dear delegates of the Member States,
This year will be the 15th anniversary that the Assembly of Armenians of Western Armenia has had the honour of being accredited to take part in the sessions of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, and in this first speech I would like to thank you and the whole secretariat.
A lot of work has gone into preparing today’s Diplomatic Conference on Genetic Resources, which is why I would like to thank all the Member States, as well as the indigenous peoples present in person and online, for all the efforts they have made to ensure that as many people as possible can take part in this Diplomatic Conference.
As you know, for more than a century now, Western Armenia and its indigenous Armenian population, after being recognised as a sovereign and independent state in 1920, have been subjected not only to genocide but also to forced displacement, territorial division and annexation without respect for international law, illicit appropriation of its genetic resources, systematic destruction of its cultural and intangible heritage, forced conversions of its population and even denial of the very existence of the indigenous peoples concerned, victims of genocide, with disastrous consequences for the transmission of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions.
But despite all this, we continue to exist as an indigenous nation, because we were born in the same territory, through the same preserved transmission of our traditional knowledge and our cultural expressions, and through our legal battle to assert our rights to defend the territorial integrity of our living space, in the direction of our genetic resources.
With this in mind, with regard to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and our right to self-determination, I wanted first of all to support and endorse the inclusion in the articles of the texts presented of the relevant holders of rights of indigenous peoples.
I would also like to point out that as a result of the illicit appropriation of genetic resources and traditional knowledge, indigenous peoples or nations, following the consequences of genocide, annexation, occupation and war, may no longer be the holders of their stolen legitimate rights.
It is therefore essential to work for the rehabilitation/application of the rights in question to the indigenous peoples directly concerned, and thus for respect for the protections and living spaces, and even for the territorial integrity, that have been recognised de facto and de jure for indigenous peoples and nations by the States since the structures and legal systems were created.
Thank you Madam President.
President of the National Council of Western Armenia