A composite photo from 1988

MFA Calls Sumgait Massacres Precursor to Karabakh Ethnic Cleansing

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YEREVAN (Public Radio of Armenia) — The Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement in commemoration of the 36th anniversary of the anti-Armenian pogroms in Sumgait, Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan continues its policy of eradicating any Armenian traces under its control, desecrating, vandalizing and destroying Armenian religious and historical-cultural monuments, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

On February 27, 1988, at the initiative of the leadership of Soviet Azerbaijan and under the conditions of absolute negligence, the massacres of the Armenian population of Sumgait began, accompanied by cases of violence, brutality, forced disappearances, dispossession, and massive violations of human rights. Hundreds of Armenians were killed, including women, children and the elderly, and thousands of Armenians were forcibly displaced.

“The Sumgait tragedy was followed by massacres of Armenians in Kirovabad, Baku and other Armenian-populated settlements of Azerbaijan. These chain events, like the earlier complete depopulation of Nakhichevan, showed that the mentioned crimes were not separate episodes of violence based on nationalism, but regular manifestations of state-planned and implemented policy of Armenophobia. As a result of that policy, around 500,000 ethnic Armenians were forcibly deported from Soviet Azerbaijan,” the Foreign Ministry said.

The Ministry noted that these events targeted not only the Armenian population. they were also accompanied by deliberate actions to eliminate the Armenian heritage and the Armenian trace in general.

A survivor of the Sumgait pogroms in 1988 in Azerbaijan SSR

“Already in the 21st century, under the conditions of complete impunity, Azerbaijan continued the same policy of terrorizing the native Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, starving them to death and finally depopulating Nagorno-Karabakh through the use of force, ethnic cleansing, which was completed notwithstanding the three binding decisions of the UN International Court of Justice,” it stated.

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“Even today, Azerbaijan continues its policy of eradicating any Armenian traces under its control, desecrating, vandalizing and destroying Armenian religious and historical-cultural monuments. Even today, the ongoing xenophobic and hostile policy against the Republic of Armenia is accompanied by high-level hate speech, threats and aggressive rhetoric, which is an obstacle to overcoming enmity between peoples and establishing peace and stability in the region,” the Ministry continued.

“The international community should give an adequate assessment of the mass crimes that have taken place and launch all available mechanisms to prevent the recurrence of such crimes and contribute to Armenia’s sincere efforts to achieve a dignified and lasting peace in the South Caucasus,” it concluded.

 

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