WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Armenian Caucus founding Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-CA) called on his Congressional colleagues to join him in commemorating the 30th anniversary of the brutal anti-Armenian attacks in Baku, which resulted in over 90 murdered and some 200,000 displaced during January of 1991, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“For over three decades, Azerbaijan has taken steps to cover up these crimes against humanity and dismiss the atrocities at Sumgait and Baku. Even more disturbing is that the perpetrators of this event and similar violent attacks have been lauded as national heroes by the Azeri government,” stated Rep. Pallone in his Congressional statement. “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.”
“As Congressman Pallone makes compellingly clear, the central lesson of the Baku Pogroms is that there is no going back – no return to Azerbaijani massacres, no restoration of Stalinist borders, and no retreat from Artsakh’s freedom,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “It’s in this light, that we remain so deeply grateful for all that Congressman Pallone is doing to strengthen Artsakh and break down barriers to U.S.-Artsakh relations – from his visits to Stepanakert to his leadership on the U.S.-Artsakh Travel and Communications Resolution.”
Rep. Pallone is the lead sponsor of the Artsakh Travel and Communication Resolution (H.Res.190) which promotes stronger U.S.-Artsakh ties and supports Artsakh’s return to full participation in the peace process. The resolution currently has 23 co-sponsors.
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 Artsakh, 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 crush Artsakh.
The full text of Rep. Pallone’s complete remarks is provided below.
U.S. House of Representatives
HON. FRANK PALLONE, JR.
January 30, 2020
Madam Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the 32nd Anniversary of the Sumgait pogrom and the 30th Anniversary of the Baku pogrom.
On February 27, 1988, hundreds of Armenian civilians living in the city of Sumgait in Azerbaijan were indiscriminately killed, raped, maimed, and even burned alive for no reason other than their ethnicity. This senseless violence was instigated by hostile, anti-Armenian rhetoric from Azerbaijani citizens and officials.
Similarly, on January 12, 1990, a seven-day pogrom broke out against the Armenian population in Baku during which Armenians were beaten, murdered, and expelled from the city. Over 90 Armenian civilians were killed, over 700 were injured, and countless others were permanently displaced by the ethnic violence that ensued.
For over three decades, Azerbaijan has taken steps to cover up these crimes against humanity and dismiss the atrocities at Sumgait and Baku. Even more disturbing is that the perpetrators of this event and similar violent attacks have been lauded as national heroes by the Azeri government.
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.
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. It is especially critical to consider this as we prepare to commemorate the 105th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in April.
I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Congressional Armenian Issues Caucus to remember the victims of the pogroms at Sumgait and Baku and condemn all acts of violence against people who are targeted simply because of their existence. I hope my colleagues will join me in rejecting violent rhetoric and intimidation. In doing so, we renew our commitment to achieving a lasting peace and more humane way of living in the Caucasus.