YEREVAN — On Saturday, September 24, 2022, the 22nd Congress of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party (SDHP) commenced in the “Ani Hall” at Ani Plaza hotel in Yerevan, in the presence of the chairman of the Central Committee, members, representatives of the governing bodies of various regions of the party, party friends and affiliates, the President of the “Republic” party of Armenia Mr. Aram Sargsyan, Chairman of the “Artar Hayastan” party Mr. Norayr Norikian and Chairman of the European Party of Armenia Mr. Tigran Khzmalyan.
Prior to the official opening ceremony of the congress, an exhibition of SDHP archives was held at the entrance of the hall. Documentary posters from the 135-year history of the Party were painstakingly collected through the efforts of Dr. Yeghik Jeredjian. The symbolic beginning of the uprising, photos of Hunchakian heroes and their exploits, segments of their political activities, and posters commemorating the immortal “Twenty” were presented.
Republic of Armenia and SDHP party anthems were performed by the Mr. Romanos Melikyan State Musical College choir.
Opening the ceremony portion of the congress, SDHP Central Committee member Mr. Alexan Keoshkerian welcomed the attendees and emphasizing that the SDHP has existed for 135 years, it remains with the Armenian people, and its red flag is painted with the blood of thousands of martyrs who fell on the road of the national liberation struggle. Mr. Keoshkerian highlighted the participation of youth in Party activities adding that it is one of the important guarantees for the existence, sustainability, and modernization of the SDHP.
In his remarks, Lebanon Dkhruni Student and Youth Association Chairman Mr. Dikran Mihranian expressed that it was a great honor to participate in the 22nd congress of the SDHP on its native land and deliver a speech on behalf of all Hunchakian youth organizations. “For the youth of the Hunchakian Party, today is a day of renewing the covenant and vow, as our founders made 135 years ago, to selflessly serve the Armenian people and homeland. As in the past, when the Hunchakian party was always on the frontlines of the struggle, today too, the new generation of this glorious party promises to continue that sacred mission,” said Mihranian.
The Social Democrat Hunchakian Party’s message was conveyed by the Chairman of the Central Committee Dr. Hampik Sarafian. He noted that the 22nd congress of the party is taking place during the most fateful period for the Motherland, when the sovereignty and independence of the Motherland are under question today due to the Azerbaijan resorting to utilizing missiles to get what it wants since political pressures have not been successful. He paid due respect to the Armenian soldier, who with his bravery, was able to stop the recent attacks of the Azerbaijani armed forces, pushing them back and not allowing them to implement their plans, which are much more far-reaching than being referred to as a “border incident,” said Sarafian.
Dr. Sarafian also discussed the current political situation in Armenia, the inaction of the CSTO, recent events, the response of the United Nations, and the blind trust in the help of the northern ally, stressing the reality that our salvation should be only by our own forces, without relying on any external force, because no one will do for us what we have to do for ourselves.
Dr. Sarafian focused on three main points in his speech.
1) Unity: “On the eve of the war, and in the days following it, in all our statements, we mentioned unity, not as a wish, but as an absolute necessity. Every manifestation of disunity is a gift to Azerbaijan, and those who demands a change of government in this narrow and difficult period, either do not have full grasp of the situation or is unintentionally filling Azerbaijan’s mill with water,” he said.
2) Realization of statehood: “As a political party, we are obliged to take up the understanding of statehood. We are aware that today the country is faced with the imperative of unity and statehood, gathering around the flag. The Hunchakian party advocated for the independence of Armenia when that independence did not exist yet, that is, from the end of the 19th century until the end of the 20th century Proclamation of the Republic. Perhaps this independence of ours was given to us easily, but the reality is that independence is a very precious thing, for which we are all responsible both as a political party and as individuals,” said the Chairman of the Central Board.
3) The existence of a modern professional army: “The guarantee of our security starts with the army. The Armenian soldier has shown that he is ready to selflessly protect the country’s borders, but that alone is not enough, because the Armenian soldier needs both material and military capabilities. The Armenian soldier needs to feel our strong support and be ensured by our unity,” stressed Sarafian.
The Chairman of the SDHP Central Committee concluded his speech by emphasizing that the Motherland is a priority for the Hunchakian party, which has a presence in various Armenian communities around the world, stands up for the statehood of Armenia and works diligently to be helpful to it. He mentioned that we have many challenges in the Diaspora, but they are secondary to the challenges faced by Armenia. He promised that the Hunchakian party will continue its path to stand next to the statehood of Armenia, support its statehood, and to cooperate and participate in the welfare of the Motherland.
President of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan sent his congratulatory message on the occasion of the 135th-anniversary and 22nd congress of SDHP. “Since the day of its foundation, the Hunchakian party has been actively involved in the organization of Armenian national, political and social life. After the Genocide, the Hunchakian party was one of the leading structures that managed to organize and regulate the community life of Armenians scattered all over the world, greatly contributing to the cause of Armenian preservation in the Diaspora. After the independence of Armenia, the party was directly involved in the process of building a state, always demonstrating a state-centered and principled behavior, putting all its capabilities into the strengthening and establishment of an independent Armenia. And even today the Hunchakian party unconditionally and unequivocally stands by the state.”
RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in his congratulatory message stated: “The party, with its continuing movement, has served our people and the Motherland, being one of the important organizations that inspire Armenians and solve nationwide problems. The government of the Republic of Armenia attaches importance to the support and cooperation of the SDHP in solving the important problems faced by Armenians and Armenia, preserving national identity and language, strengthening ties with the Motherland, developing Armenia and Artsakh, and solving other issues.” (The entire message of the Prime Minister can be found here)
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Alen Simonyan, stated in his congratulatory message: “Your party is the oldest active party that has always been on Armenia’s side. It has implemented many pro-Armenian and pro-Armenia programs in the Homeland and the Diaspora.”
“Republic” party Chairman Aram Sarkisian congratulated the SDHP on its 135th anniversary, saying that “it had a serious road and throughout its activity you have been with the state and the statehood, building the unity of all Armenians.” He referred to the internal political life of Armenia and emphasized that the opposition are not those who demand the resignation of the government, but they are those who are looking for solutions in these difficult times and are trying to offer them to the authorities, trying to solve the problems.
The Chairman of the “Artar Hayastan” party, Norayr Norikyan, said in his welcoming speech that he is deeply convinced that the history of the Hunchakian party is directly connected with the history of our people. “Your activities, Armenian preservation, your politics in the Diaspora, your lifestyle, your heartache towards the Motherland, and your attitude towards the Republic of Armenia will testify that our perceptions towards statehood and Armenian preservation are the same,” he said.
In his welcoming speech, the President of the European Party of Armenia, Tigran Khzmalyan, expressed gratitude that the SDHP in the Diaspora preserves not only the idea of patriotism, but also statehood. “All of us as a nation, and especially the Republic of Armenia as a state, must realize that we are standing on the threshold of the greatest geopolitical, psychological, strategic change,” he said, considering it a priority to unite on the democratic front, because “our victory is only in the field of democracy, our salvation, the existence of our state.”
During the closing of the event the choir, led by artistic director Grigor Harutunyan, beautifully performed the songs “Hayastan” and “Glorious Nation,” as well as the party’s revolutionary song “Lend me your hand, friend.”