Madam President,

After the genocide of the Armenians in Western Armenia, occupied from 1894 to 1923 by successive Turkish governments, the indigenous Armenian refugees who survived the genocide were given an identity and travel document in 1922, called the Nansen passport, which did not previously exist.

This Nansen passport is one of the oldest passports, adopted in 1922 by the League of Nations, and it is also a reason why the indigenous Armenians of Western Armenia have taken into account the continuity of this Nansen passport, in direct and practical application of their right to self-determination until their independence recognized by the States in 1917/1920 and in accordance with Article 6 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the United Nations. 

However, even if the Armenians of occupied Western Armenia, survivors of genocide, thus testify to their willingness to find mechanisms for applying their right, after 100 years of struggle and perseverance, which we have commemorated these days, indigenous nations and peoples have obtained a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and this is still not binding on States.

I therefore invite the United Nations, in partnership with indigenous governments and peoples, to adopt a legal instrument on the de-occupation of indigenous territories and their right to self-determination, which would be binding on member states, following the numerous complaints and testimonies presented every year to the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other UN bodies.

The time has therefore come to advance the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into a specific international legal instrument. 

Thank you, Madame President

Arménag APRAHAMIAN

President of the National Council of Western Armenia

contact@western-armenia.eu