Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression against Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and Armenia were condemned last week, during Congressional commemorations of the anti-Armenian pogroms in Sumgait, Kirovabad and Baku, which took place in 1988-1990, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“We join with Representatives Sherman, Schiff, and Pallone in commemorating the anti-Armenian pogroms of a generation ago, knowing, all too sadly, that the very same state-sponsored intolerance that drove Azerbaijan’s violence continues until this day – no longer simply as attacks on defenseless civilians but as all-out military assaults against both Artsakh and Armenia,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We draw from these remembrances added resolve to save the free citizens of the Artsakh Republic from the fate that befell those in Sumgait, Kirovabad, and Baku.”
“I would like to commemorate the Armenian victims of the Sumgait, Kirovabad, and Baku massacres, to honor the memory of the murdered, and to stop future bloodshed,” said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), who serves as the Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. “If we hope to stop future massacres, we must acknowledge these horrific events and ensure they do not happen again. We must urge Azerbaijan to cease all threats and acts of coercion against the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh. We should actively monitor and condemn Azerbaijan’s violations of the ceasefire in Nagorno Karabakh.”
Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) concurred, noting that “If we do not condemn crimes against humanity and allow them to go unpunished and unrecognized we only strengthen the resolve of those seeking to perpetrate these crimes in the future. The Armenian people have known this for too long, as we prepare to commemorate the 102nd Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in April.” Rep. Pallone pledged to “continue to work with my colleagues on the Congressional Armenian Issues Caucus to remember the victims of the pogroms at Sumgait and to condemn all acts of violence against people who are targeted simply because of their existence.”
In a lengthy statement submitted for the Congressional Record, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) reminded his colleagues that “The Sumgait massacre and the subsequent attacks on ethnic Armenians, resulted in the virtual disappearance of a once thriving population of 450,000 Armenians living in Azerbaijan, and culminating in the war launched against the people of Nagorno Karabakh.” Highlighting Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression against Artsakh and Armenia, including the April, 2016, attacks that cost hundreds of lives, Rep. Schiff, once again, called for a “direct international response to Azerbaijan’s aggressive behavior through deployment of international monitors and technology to monitor ceasefire violations. Azerbaijan’s continued rejection of these simple steps speaks volumes, but I believe they should not prevent the installation of these technologies within Nagorno Karabakh. The anniversary of Sumgait is a reminder of the consequences when aggression and hatred is allowed to grow unchecked.”
The full text of statements submitted for the Congressional Record commemorating the Sumgait, Baku and Kirovabad pogroms are provided below.
From 1988 to 1990, the Armenian population in Soviet Azerbaijan was the target of racially motivated pogroms against Armenians in the cities of Sumgait (February 27-29, 1988), Kirovabad (November 21-27, 1988) and Baku (January 13-19, 1990).
At the time, Members of Congress condemned these premeditated and officially-sponsored attacks against Armenian civilians and passed amendments and resolutions demanding respect for the democratic aspirations of the people of Nagorno Karabakh.
These pogroms set the stage for two decades of aggression by Azerbaijan, during which it launched and lost a war against Nagorno Karabakh, and later used its oil wealth to buy a massive military arsenal that its leaders, to this day, vow to use to renew their attempts to conquer a Christian people that has lived on these lands for thousands of years and, after great challenges, has flourished in freedom from Soviet oppression for more than 25 years.