Hundreds in Artsakh Commemorate Sumgait Pogrom Victims

Bako Sahakian lays wreath in commemoration of the  Armenian victims of the Sumgait pogrom in 1988
Bako Sahakian lays wreath in commemoration of the  Armenian victims of the Sumgait pogrom in 1988

Bako Sahakian lays wreath in commemoration of the Armenian victims of the Sumgait pogrom in 1988 (Photo: Office of the Artsakh Republic President)

STEPANAKERT—On the 29th anniversary of the Sumgait pogroms, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Republic President Bako Sahakian on February 28 to visit the Memorial Complex of Stepanakert and laid flowers in memory of the innocent victims. Accompanying the president at the solemn ceremony was Primate of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, government officials and community members.

The Artsakh National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Relations issued a statement in light of the 29th anniversary of the massacres of Armenians in Sumgait.

The full text of the statement can be read below.

“Massacres of Armenians took place on February 27-29, 1988 in the city of Sumgait of the Azerbaijan SSR pre-planned and organized by the Azerbaijani authorities. Taking advantage of the total absence of authority and putting in force every possible tool for committing brutality the executioners mercilessly tortured and killed some dozens of Armenians while over 20 thousand Armenians who had built the city by their own hands were looted and subjected to violence.

The terrible massacres implemented by Azerbaijan in Sumgait was the continuation of the Turkish policy of the beginning of the 20th century aimed at exterminating Armenians in their motherland, this time as a reaction to the decision of the Regional Council of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of February 20, 1988 to leave Azerbaijan SSR and join Armenian SSR.

Taking advantage of the negligence of the USSR authorities and trying to hamper the implementation of the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination Azerbaijan continued its xenophobic policy by expanding the wave of the genocide to other cities of Azerbaijan SSR with major Armenian communities, particularly, in Kirovabad, November 1988, and Baku, January 1990.

Even today the civilized world keeps silent not giving proper assessment to those atrocities. Moreover, taking advantage of the indifferent stance of the international community the dictatorial leadership of Azerbaijan consistently continues its xenophobic policy the obvious outcome of which are the military hostilities unleashed against the people of Artsakh by Azerbaijan in April 2016 and the gross violations of international right during those operations, as well as the tortures against the civilian population.

The behavior of the international community of putting a sign of parity between the sides gives Azerbaijan an opportunity to regularly violate the ceasefire regime and instigate armed provocations on Karabakh-Azerbaijan border.

Honoring the memory of the victims of Sumgait pogroms and forcefully deported innocent Armenians, demanding restoration of their violated rights and condemning any demonstration of xenophobia, extremism and terrorism Artsakh’s National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Relations claims that the massacres of Sumgait fully correspond to the legal formulation of the crime of genocide defined by the UN Convention of 1948 on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, reaffirms the confidence of the National Assembly of Artsakh Republic to pursue a consistent policy aimed at bringing the organizers and perpetrators of the genocide against the Armenians of Azerbaijan to justice in accordance with norms of the international right, urges the international community and the parliaments of all the countries to condemn the mass killings of the Armenian population in Sumgait giving them proper legal assessment.”

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