Sumgait, Kirovabad, Baku Massacres Commemorated By Fuentes Resolution

Assemblymember Fuentes

SACRAMENTO—The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region welcomed the introduction of Assembly Concurrent Resolution 96, introduced by California Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes (CA-AD-39-D-Arleta).  The resolution commemorates the massacres of Armenians in Sumgait, Kirovabad (present-day Ganja), and Baku, Azerbaijan on the anniversary of the massacre in Sumgait (February 1988) and calls on the legislature to remember the victims of massacres and oppression of Armenians in Azerbaijan, many of whom barely survived the atrocities and ended up as refugees in the United States, including California.

“I am honored to lead the State Assembly in commemorating the massacre of Armenians in Azerbaijan nearly 25 years ago,” said Fuentes. “The Armenian people have demonstrated throughout history that they are true survivors. They have faced persecution and genocide and yet they have once again flourished and have become an integral part of our community in California. We stand together today to acknowledge the atrocities of the past so that we do not repeat them in the future.”

The resolution, which should be adopted before the anniversary, on February 27, of the Sumgait massacres, provides the broader context of the issue and how the massacres were part of the widespread, anti-democratic backlash faced by the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh when they voted for independence when the Soviet Union fell.

The Soviet Azerbaijani state and subsequent Republic of Azerbaijan brutally responded to Armenians’ call for self-determination, both within and beyond Nagorno Karabakh in Azerbaijan.

With hundreds of thousands fleeing Azerbaijan in the last decade of the 20th Century, many found refuge in California.

“This resolution resonates both from the American and Armenian perspective.  As a country founded on the principle of self-determination by people seeking a better life and often escaping persecution in the ‘Old World,’ the United States and its history is an inspiration to the Armenians of Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh,” said Armen Garabedian, chairman of the ANCA-WR’s California State Affairs committee.  “It has become a safe haven and home for those fleeing the massacres in Sumgait, Kirovabad, and Baku as well as an inspiration to those who stayed behind to shape a more secure and democratic future there.”

Hundreds of Armenian families who survived the massacres ended up in towns across California including those in the San Francisco, Sacramento, Central Valley, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego County areas.  Many of these survivors have put down roots in the state and are giving back to the communities in which they live as established and young professionals.

Those interested in learning more about the resolution and participating in the community’s commemoration activities in the State Capitol should contact the ANCA-WR at (818) 500-1918.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.


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  1. Avery said:

    It’s about time. While we have been occupied with the AG Recognition efforts, Azeris have been going around the world promoting the Khojali tragedy as some kind of an atrocity, even “genocide” (right, the same Azeris that have joined their linguistic cousins in the worldwide AG Denial campaign, are not shy about labeling Khojali a ‘genocide’.)

    Sumgait, Kirovabad, and Baku were deliberate, pre-planned, State organized and instigated acts of massacres of Armenian civilians.

    (BTW: Maragha village massacre during the war was just as bad: {Azeri soldiers sawed off the heads of 45 villagers, burnt others, took 100 women and children away as hostages, looted and set fire to all the homes, and left with all the pickings from the looting.} (Cox – Christianity Today, April 1998 Vol. 42, No. 5))

  2. Narine Stepanian, Esq. said:

    Thank you Mr. Fuentes for Resolution 96. The massacres of Armenians in Azerbaijan are a well-documented, tragic event that qualifies for the definition of a genocide, as delineated by the United Nations’ General Assembly Resolution 260 of 1948. California is a home to a large number of former refugees from Azerbaijan who would readily provide you with eye witness accounts of the artrocities to assist you with passing the Resolution.
    Narine Stepanian, Esq.

  3. gayane said:

    Glad to see such a resolution because yes AG is absolutely critical and our efforts were spent on that, we can’t and shall not forget all the autrocities perpetrated by Azeris in the 21st Century to all the innocent Armenians in Sumgait, Kirovabad, Baku and few other provinces…

    These monsters need to be reminded that their deeds have not been forgotten and one day their punishment will come from the higher power… karma is a *$#(*$)#(*$()#*$)(#*)$(#)(*$… Azeri Turks…

    Thank you to ANCA-WR and Assemblyman Fuentes for your efforts to get this out in the open…


  4. Stephen T. Dulgarian said:

    We thank Assembly member Felipe Fuentes on introducing Res. 96 on the Baku Massacres. This was long overdue. All territories under Azeri rule that Stalin took away from the Armenians must be returned including Nakhichevan, Javakh, Kars & Ardahan along with the Wilson Award of 1920 that the Turks, Armenia, and 16 other nations signed. This must be brought to the United Nations by the Armenian Government whom is to slow in bringing up these territorial demands by diaspora Armenians.

  5. Silvia K. said:

    Thank you for this resolution. It is also important to draw the world’s attention to this year;s Eurovision in Baku and boycott this contest in the warmongering Azerbaijan. Aremenians in this country are ready to provide the facts and evidence as well as their addresses in Baku, Sumgait, and Kirovabad, as well as other places.