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September 2, 2017 – Artsakh Independence Day

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to members of the Canadian Armenian community and the people of Artsakh on the occasion of Artsakh Independence Day.

On December 10, 1991, days before the official dissolution of the Soviet Union, a referendum on independence was held in Nagorno Karabakh. The overwhelming majority of Artsakh’s population voted in favour of independence.

The people of Artsakh consider September 2nd the day The Republic of Nagorno Karabakh was proclaimed. The occasion is marked as a state holiday.

I was invited as an international elections observer to the referendum which was held on 20 February 2017, with a 87.6% vote in favour on a 76% turnout for instituting a new constitution. This constitution among other changes turned the government from a semi-presidential to a fully presidential model, and changed the official name from the “Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh” to the “Republic of Artsakh”.

Today, The Republic of Artsakh is a de facto independent, democratic and fully functioning state, with a thriving market economy and a dynamic civil society.

Toronto is a proud multicultural city that embraces a wide variety of cultures and faiths.  Our city flourishes because of the diversity of people who have chosen to make Toronto their home. As we celebrate Canada 150 this year, it is important to recognize each and every community that plays a part in enhancing Toronto’s social and cultural landscape.

As the Newcomer’s Advocate with the City of Toronto I strongly believe that we must work to together to promote togetherness. We must Respect our newcomer communities. We must Accept our newcomer communities. We should Celebrate our diversity and Embrace our different cultures and traditions, because we are all part of the human RACE.

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