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 Tuesday, February 27 2024 10:26
Marianna Mkrtchyan

On 36th anniversary of Sumgayit pogroms, Armenian Assembly of America  calls for Azerbaijan to be held accountable for its heinous crimes  against humanity

On 36th anniversary of Sumgayit pogroms, Armenian Assembly of America  calls for Azerbaijan to be held accountable for its heinous crimes  against humanity

ArmInfo. The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) commemorates the 36th anniversary of  the Sumgait pogrom, a ruthless massacre against the Armenian population in the former Soviet Azerbaijan, the Assembly's statement on the36th anniversary of the first of the Armenian pogroms committed  by Azerbaijan notes.  As the Assambley's press service reports, the staement reads as follows:

"The uncontrolled mob violence committed against its peaceful  Armenian population continued from February 26, 1988, until March 1,  1988, and resulted in the vicious killing of civilians, extensive  destruction of property, and mass deportation of Armenians. The  pogrom was reported in mainstream media, and set the pattern of the  ethnic cleansing of Armenians from all across Azerbaijan that  continues to this day. 

Following the Sumgait pogrom, Armenians were methodically targeted in  Azerbaijan's cities of Kirovabad (1988) and Baku (1990), and across  the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous District, including Shushi and  Stepanakert, causing hundreds of thousands of Armenians to be  forcibly displaced to escape the massacres, while being stripped of  their properties, businesses, financial resources, and cultural  heritage sites. The underlying cause of the anti-Armenian riots and  violence was due to the Armenian people's appeals for Artsakh's  self-determination, which was supported by human rights advocates  from around the world, including by Nobel Prize-winning physicist and  dissident Andrei Sakharov, who stated that "Armenian people are again  facing the threat of genocide." 

As a consequence of the failure to hold Azerbaijan responsible for  its ethnic cleansing policies against Armenians, history repeated  itself in 2020, when the Aliyev regime launched the 44-day war on  Artsakh, with the full and open support of Turkey and jihadist  mercenaries, when thousands of Armenians were killed, forcibly  displaced, and subjected to internationally banned cluster munitions,  lethal drones, and white phosphorus bombs, as documented by Columbia  University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights. 

The 2020 war was followed by further human rights violations, when  Azbebaijan blocked the Lachin Corridor in late 2022 into 2023, and  caused a man-made humanitarian crisis. Azerbaijan ignored the  International Court of Justice's ruling, destroyed cultural heritage  sites, unlawfully detained civilian hostages, abused prisoners of  war, and continued its atrocities and ethnic cleansing against the  Armenian people until it caused the complete depopulation of Artsakh  of its Armenian population in the Fall of 2023. 

On the 36th anniversary of the Sumgait pogrom, the Assembly  commemorates those who lost their lives in 1988 and 1990, as well as  the Armenian people of Artsakh, who were killed in 2020 and 2023, as  they defended their ancestral lands. The Assembly calls for  Azerbaijan to be held accountable for its heinous crimes against  humanity."

In response to the desire of the Armenians of Artsakh  (Nagorno-Karabakh) to realize their right to self- determination, a  wave of Armenian pogroms swept across Azerbaijan, accompanied by  murders, violence and robberies of unprecedented cruelty.

The first victims of Azerbaijan's policy of violent suppression of  the free will of the people of Nagorno- Karabakh were the Armenians  of Sumgait, an Azerbaijani city located several hundred kilometers  from Nagorno-Karabakh. The massacre in Sumgayit lasted three days,  from February 27 to 29, 1988.  In November 1988, the second wave of  Armenian pogroms began in Azerbaijan; the largest of them occurred in  Kirovabad, Shemakha, Shamkhor, and Mingachevir. During the same  period, in November- December 1988, residents of 50 Armenian  settlements of northern Artsakh - the mountainous and foothill parts  of the Khanlar, Dashkesan, Shamkhor and Gadabek regions, as well as  the 48 thousand Armenian population of Kirovabad (Gandzak) were also  deported.

The massacres and final deportation of the Armenians of Baku in  January 1990 were the culmination of the persecution, violence,  pogroms and murders of the Armenian population in Azerbaijan in  1988-1990. They were illegally fired from their jobs and forcibly  evicted from apartments and houses. There were beatings, public  mockery and murder of Armenians. By January 1990, out of the 250  thousand Armenian population, about 35-40 thousand Armenians remained  in Baku. For the most part, these were elderly, lonely, sick or  low-income people who did not want or were unable to leave, as well  as their relatives who did not want to leave.

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