Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
The Joint Baltic Committee was formed by representatives of the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian communities in Sydney in 1952. Estonian-born Lia Looveer was the founding Secretary and served in that position until 2002. In June 1940 the respective homelands of Looveer and her Committee members had been occupied and annexed by Soviet Russia. A year later began the mass deportation of thousands of people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to remote regions of the U.S.S.R.. The Committee held an annual Commemoration Concert, organised to pay tribute to their compatriots who were deported and suffered under Soviet oppression for more than 50 years. The Committee liaised with Federal and State politicians to campaign for the defence of human rights and fundamental freedoms in, and independence of, the Baltic States. In 1986 the House of Representatives passed the Baltic Resolution which, in part, 'reinforced Australia's non-recognition de jure of the incorporation of the Baltic States into the Soviet Union'.