February 29, 2020 - 11:39 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A dozen U.S. House members condemned the brutal massacres of Armenians in the Azerbaijani cities of Baku, Sumgait, and Kirovabad from 1988-1990, urging the Aliyev regime to end its ongoing aggression against Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and Armenia in a series of statements for the Congressional Record shared throughout the month of February, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The calls for justice echoed moving remarks offered during the Capitol Hill commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the Baku pogroms held earlier this month.
“We join with friends of Armenia and advocates of human rights across America in thanking House leaders for marking the 30th Anniversary of the Baku pogroms and the related attacks in Sumgait, Kirovabad, and Maragha,” said ANCA Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan. “In pausing to remember these atrocities, we commemorate the lives of those who were lost, while also helping to protect those who survived by both condemning Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression and supporting Artsakh freedom.”
Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) was the first this year to honor the memory of the Baku and Sumgait victims, stating “it is critical for the United States government to recognize and denounce violent assaults against any civilians. I continue to stand with the Armenian people in condemning this horrific massacre. Tragically, the Azerbaijani government's approach toward the Armenian people has changed little since the pogroms were initiated. We still hear the same violent rhetoric and witness intimidation tactics aimed at the people of the Republic of Artsakh.”
Fellow Caucus Co-Chair Jackie Speier (D-CA), who along with Rep. Pallone, visited Artsakh last year, offered powerful remarks on the House floor condemning the attacks, noting, “If the [U.S.] Administration won't help those who stand for peace and democracy, Congress must. The legacy of Baku, Sumgait, and Kirovobad reminds me why. We must fight for the memories of those we lost, for their dreams of safety and security, and for the promise of a free Artsakh.”
2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the Baku pogroms, one of the more violent anti-Armenian massacres orchestrated by Azerbaijan during the early years of Artsakh’s ultimately successful democratic movement for independence. Over the course of seven days, Azerbaijani mobs killed dozens and forced hundreds of thousands among the centuries old Armenian population in Azerbaijan to find safe haven in Armenia and countries around the world.
The Baku attacks were the culmination of earlier anti-Armenian violence aimed at killing and driving Armenians from their homes which began on the evening of February 27, 1988 in Sumgait, Soviet Azerbaijan. Within hours, these attacks turned into a series of well-documented pogroms during which Sumgait’s Christian Armenian residents were indiscriminately murdered, raped, and maimed by Azerbaijanis.
Despite Sumgait’s 30-minute proximity to Baku, police allowed the pogroms to go on for 3 days, during which Armenians were burned alive and thrown from windows. Credible sources report that hundreds of Armenians were murdered. Soviet authorities, who blocked journalists from the area, estimated that over 30 were killed and 200 injured. Other similarly violent pogroms took place in Kirovabad and Maragha.