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Declaration of the 16th General Assembly of S.D.H.P. - 1995

The Social Democrat Hunchakian Party convened its 16th General Assembly in Yerevan, Armenia, between October 27th to October 30th, 1995, with the participation of delegates from different parts of the world and from Armenia.

The SDHP, which for the past 108 years played a vital role in the national, political and cultural life in the Diaspora and worked for the survival of the Armenian people and for the protection of their rights, renewed its commitment during this meeting, to continue in its mission and saluted the historic event that, for the first time, the party's general meeting was held on the soil of the homeland in an atmosphere where true spirit of unity prevailed. The historic value of the event was also emphasised during the opening ceremony which took place in the Hall of National Academy Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, in the presence of hundreds of invitees, government officials, scholars and representatives of different political parties and organisations.

All congratulatory communications received from the Diaspora and speeches delivered on this occasion, by representatives of different organisations, acknowledged the party's vital mission in the history of the Armenian people and its special role both in Armenia and the Diaspora.

The 16th General Assembly which coincided with the 4th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Armenia, while re-emphasising its already adopted policy of supporting Armenia’s independence and its leadership, analysed Armenia’s current situation and accomplishments through the party's guideline "one homeland, one nation" principle, and found that the Republic, with the enhancement of its independence, registered significant achievements in its foreign policies, intergovernmental relations and in improving its internal security. Based on this principle, all Armenians should unite and support the administration with all their scientific, economic, political and intellectual capabilities and power, toward the improvement of the Republic and the welfare of its people. The SDHP in its 16th general meeting committed itself to serve Armenia, without undermining the importance of the Diaspora institutions in preserving the Armenian identity, by becoming a reinforcing and active element in the people's struggle for statehood.

Despite the extensive efforts and the different initiations by the government and the people alike, and based on the prevailing market situation, the socio-economic difficulties still continue, causing hardship to the people. It is imperative to improve the standard of living for the people and create better conditions for the intellectuals to devise stronger basis for the homeland. This is the only way to prevent the most threatening and saddening phenomenon of today, which is the emigration of fellow Armenians, including scholars, in increasing number.

Addressing the economic issues, the Party driven by its social-democratic principles, found that the common people should be the one benefiting the most, instead of securing extra gains to the elite, by the adoption of the free market policies, within the limits drawn by the government, and thus guaranteeing social safety, justice and enhancement of democracy. Any negligence in improving the people's social condition and any abuse of democracy will not find our Party indifferent, retaining to itself the right, to come forward with constructive criticism.

Armenia-Diaspora relations are subject to many new and encouraging changes since the independence. Based on this fact, the meeting decided to continue the already existing process. It also emphasised the Diaspora’s role in the present life of our people, in protecting their rights, and in using all lobbying means available to reinforce our statehood. All this should be done by co-ordinating all efforts and promoting communication with entities representing Armenia throughout the Diaspora.

This is why the party considered it a priority, to co-operate with the "Hayastan" All-Armenia Fund and take part in reactivating its operation. On the other hand, the meeting acknowledged the importance of creating better conditions by the government, to facilitate and encourage investment by foreign businessmen, which will eventually contribute in materialising many projects and help rebuild our nation.

In its proposals for Armenia to help the Diaspora, and vice versa , and in order to enhance relations in the interest of the Nation, the meeting considered a high priority to create a ministry specifically for this purpose. A ministry which will co-ordinate the efforts both in Armenia and in the Diaspora on official levels, and help organise political, educational, cultural and scientific seminars of national interest, thus attracting Diaspora scholars also. While still elaborating on the Armenia-Diaspora issues, the subject of dual citizenship was brought to the table and discussed, but no final resolution was made in this regard, leaving the decision to the current administration, with the determination that the party's leadership should partake in the process, until a mutually agreeable result was reached.

The meeting while preserving the right for the government to adopt necessary policies in its relations with Turkey, in light of current economic demands, concluded that, it is the upright of the Armenian people to claim what is rightfully theirs, taking into consideration the fact that the Armenian case is one of the most humane and just causes in the world and a fair solution will undoubtedly help serve humanity.

The condemning of the Genocide and the pursuit of the Armenian case is not a condemnation against any particular race or religion. The meeting stated that the most effective way to pursue the Armenian case is to create a Pan-Armenian Central Body which embraces all active and important institutions. The SDHP is always ready to co-operate, on all levels, to achieve the ultimate goal. The results of the efforts to pursue the Armenian cause is dependent on the international and regional military and political stabilisation.

SDHP's meeting saluted the independent Republic of Karabagh and reaffirmed the party's support to the people in their triumphant struggle for liberation. It also commended the cease-fire agreement between the two parties and the attempts made to reach a peaceful resolution to the conflict, while recognising the geo-historical rights of the Karabagh people. The continued support of Artsakh will contribute to the rebuilding of the war-torn areas, the development of agricultural industry, thus the return of the thousands of refugees to their homes and eventually to the rebirth of Artsakh.

Despite the co-operative spirit prevailing between the newly elected Catholicos to the Holy Sea of Etchmiadzin and the New Catholicos to the Sea of Cilicia, the issue of uniting the Armenian Apostolic Church remains unsolved. The SDHP believes in one church, represented by the Catholicos of the Holy Sea- of Etchmiadzin, while acknowledging the vital role of the Sea of Cilicia as a separate entity but as part of Holy Sea of Etchmiadzin. Referring to this issue, the meeting commended the recent developments in this respect and suggested that the best way to reach a conclusion to this matter is to discuss the source of the fracture in church unity. With the co-operation of the two Holy Seas and all other political entities we should return to the original structure of the Church before the division. It is our Party's belief that the Armenian Apostolic Church should be free from any individual influences and ceases from becoming a political instrument. On the contrary, the church's mission should only be the protection of the Armenian identity through its national, spiritual, cultural, benevolent and educational services.

The SDHP remaining faithful to its social and democratic principles, affirmed that it is only through the establishing of free and democratic system and humane living conditions, that it will be possible to ease the pressing economic situation in Armenia, to secure social justice and to protect the overburdened people.

The SDHP concluded its 16th General Assembly committing itself to the welfare of the Armenian people and work towards the strengthening of Armenia's independence, soliciting international recognition of Artsakh's right for self-determination, the pursuit of the Armenian case through united efforts, the improvement of the Armenia-Diaspora relations, the unity of the Armenian church, the re-activation of the "Hayastan" All-Armenia Fund mission and the promoting of social and democratic principles.

Social Democrat Hunchakian Party
Central Committee

Yerevan, 1995


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Copyright© 2005 S.D.H.P. Australian Leadership