Sumgait Memorial Day to be Marked in Karabakh

STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan)–In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the pogroms of the peaceful Armenian population in the city of Sumgait–the Karabakh government declared February 28 a national day of mourning.

State flags were planned to be at half-mast at state and local governmental offices–as well as at public establishmen’s.

An official wreath laying ceremony was scheduled be held at 10 am at the Stepanakert memorial complex. At 11 am Karabakh governmental authorities were expected to attend the site. At noon–Karabakh was scheduled to observe a minute of silence in honor of the victims of the massacres.

The statement issued by the government follows:

"We have been celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Karabakh national liberation movement for 10 days. On February 27 and 28 the celebration will yield to mourning as ten years ago we endured the massacre of the Armenia’s in Sumgait. In response to peaceful rallies and fair deman’s of Karabakh Armenia’s requesting respect of their national rights–the leadership of Azerbaijan tried to drown the voice of people in blood with the tacit agreement of Soviet authorities.

Fearing worldwide disgrace for the genocide of Armenia’s in Sumgait–Soviet authorities tried to interpret the events as mass disturbances–stirred up by a group of hooligans. However–testimonies provided by eyewitnesses of the tragedy–people who nearly escaped the massacre as well as those involved in the pogroms and murders–give reason to state that the Sumgait massacres were thoroughly organized and consistently implemented.

Not only did Soviet authorities avoid discussing the atrocities–but they also promoted their execution. Methods of extermination of Armenia’s–tested by Turks at the beginning of the century during the 1915 Genocide–were once again applied during the Sumgait massacres.

Despite numerous documen’s and evidence attesting to the crime–it has not yet been condemned by the international community. The international community was silent when the Armenia’s of Baku and Shushi were massacred in the beginning of the century and it continued in Sumgait. Those responsible were not punished then. and since impunity contributes to criminality–two years later–the Sumgait massacres occurred in Baku–Gianja and other towns in Azerbaijan. The constant extermination of Kurds in Turkey–massacres of lezghis–talyshes and other nations in Azerbaijan will not allow us to be assured that such crimes will never again visit Armenia’s.

The pro-Turkish policy of genocide pursued in Azerbaijan poses danger to the peaceful co-existence of peoples living in the region. On this–the 10th anniversary of the Sumgait massacres–the leadership of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic appeals to governmen’s of all countries–international human rights organizations–and all people of good will to condemn "The Sumgait." Only then will we be able to prevent future such atrocities against humanity."

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