Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the massacres of Armenians in Sumgait

27 February, 2023

35 years ago, on February 27-29, 1988, amid the encouragement and criminal inaction of the Azerbaijani authorities, the massacres of the Armenians in the city of Sumgait were carried out, resulting in the killing of hundreds of Armenians, including children, women, elderly, while thousands were forcibly displaced.

The pre-planned massacres by the Azerbaijani authorities were carried out in order to brutally suppress the civilised struggle of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to live with dignity and peacefully in their historical homeland.

This mass crime committed on the grounds of national identity received a wide response and was condemned by the international community, including relevant resolutions adopted by the European Parliament. However, the real organisers and perpetrators of the crime not only weren’t held accountable but also, encouraged by impunity and indulgence, raised a new wave of Armenophobia and intolerance, carrying out new pogroms and massacres of Armenians in Baku, Kirovabad and other Armenian-populated areas of Azerbaijan.

As a result of these bloody events, hundreds of thousands of Armenians had to leave their homes in haste, leaving behind their possessions and property, and during all these years they never got a chance to exercise their violated rights.

The subsequent events demonstrated that the mentioned crimes of the Azerbaijani authorities were not separate episodes, but vivid examples of state-planned Armenophobia, while their continuous manifestations forced the displacement of tens of thousands of Armenians from the Shahumyan region, Getashen, and as a result of the 44-day war also from Hadrut, Shushi and neighbouring regions.

35 years after the Sumgait massacres, for about 80 days, Azerbaijan has illegally blockaded the Lachin corridor. The purpose of this operation is to displace the remaining 120,000 Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh as well.

Henceforth, Azerbaijan continues its policy of depopulating Nagorno-Karabakh by subjecting the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to ethnic cleansing. In order to prevent it, targeted condemnation by the international community and the implementation of relevant international mechanisms is imperative.

Even today, ignoring the orders of the reputable international courts, Azerbaijan explicitly continues to destroy, desecrate and vandalise the Armenian historical-cultural monuments and sanctuaries, aiming to erase the Armenian trace in the territories fallen under its control. Simultaneously, the propaganda of hatred towards Armenians continues at the highest level, which aims to prevent the two nations from overcoming the environment of enmity.

Today, paying tribute to the memory of the innocent victims of the pogroms against Armenians in Sumgait and other communities, we emphasise once again that  Azerbaijan's Armenophobic rhetoric, maximalist aspirations and aggressive actions in response to efforts of Armenia to build stability and peace in the region, are inadmissible.

At the same time, the Republic of Armenia expresses its commitment to the peace agenda, believing that the establishment of lasting and comprehensive peace and security in the region is an urgent imperative.

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