Page 2073 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 28 June 2023

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Multicultural affairs—Canberra Malayalees Association

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (4.37): The other night I gathered together with Canberrans to celebrate a beautiful cultural night hosted by the Canberra Malayalees Association. It was a truly joyous occasion as we witnessed an enchanting display of talent and traditions from kids, teenagers and adults. As we embraced the vibrant heritage of Kerala, India, the performances transported us to a world of colour, rhythm and togetherness. From mesmerising classical dances to energetic folk dances, each performance captivated our hearts and ignited our spirits.

The young ones prepared tirelessly for their performances, and I want to acknowledge how amazing they were. Their dedication shone through as they showcased their skills in various art forms. Their innocent smiles and infectious energy reminded me of the importance of nurturing our cultural roots and passing them on to the next generation.

Those in attendance not only witnessed the brilliance of the performers but also experienced the unity and camaraderie of our community. It is a testament to the power of cultural exchange, bringing us closer together and celebrating the diversity that enriches our lives.

I extend my deepest gratitude to Joby George, the President of the Canberra Malayalees Association, and his incredible team for organising the event, providing a platform for talent to shine and fostering a sense of belonging within our community. Their hard work and dedication are truly commendable.

To the performers, both young and young at heart, I applaud their commitment and passion. Their performances on the night inspired us all—those who were in attendance—to cherish our cultural heritage and embrace the joy of sharing it with others.

May the culture night be a reminder of the beauty that lies within our traditions, the strength that comes from unity, and the invaluable role of art in bringing communities together.

Armenia-Azerbaijan—conflict

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (4.39): At this moment civilians in the enclave of Artsakh, located within Azerbaijan, are facing a humanitarian crisis. Artsakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, has been a source of tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia since the fall of the Russian empire over 100 years ago.

The region falls within the borders of Azerbaijan, but operates autonomously, with its own elections and constitution. The population of the Artsakh region is overwhelmingly made up of ethnic Armenians.

Since the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in November 2020, this region has been partially occupied by Azerbaijan and access to Armenia has been restricted. Reports suggest that since 12 December last year the Azerbaijani authorities have blockaded the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia. This has


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