WASHINGTON, D.C. – To mark the 30th anniversary of the violent pogroms against Armenians in Baku, the Congressional Armenian Caucus held a commemorative event on Feb. 12 in the Capitol with the participation of Armenian advocacy groups, community leaders and supporters.
Keynote speaker Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte, an author, human rights activist and survivor of the Baku pogroms discussed the importance of remembering the tragic events which displaced thousands of Armenians in Baku 30 years ago, igniting a movement of xenophobia against Armenians which still exists today in Azerbaijan.
She drew a parallel between the atrocities committed against Armenians during the Genocide and compared it to the pogroms of Baku and Sumgayit as a way of history repeating itself and the victims being voiceless in a time of great injustice and terror.
Founding Co-Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), along with Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), all of whom have visited Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh), spoke about the importance of commemorating and speaking out against the horrific acts of the Baku pogroms and reminding the world that Azerbaijan continues to carry out their campaign of hate, discrimination and intolerance. Advocating for more funding through USAID, they reiterated the importance of the de-mining efforts of the Halo Trust in Artsakh and pledged to continue to fight for more funding, as well as hold Azerbaijan responsible for human rights and rampant cease fire violations in the absence of OSCE monitors at the border.
“We are grateful to the Congressional Armenian Caucus and all supporters on the Hill for giving a proper importance to the issue of persecutions and massacres of Armenians in Sumgayit, Baku, Kirovabad and many other cities and villages across Azerbaijan,” said Congressional Armenian Co-Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL).
“I stand with people of Artsakh and their rejection of the repeated attempts by the Azerbaijani government to bring them back under oppressive rule. They fought for their freedom, their right for self-determinization, and the opportunity to be greater than second-class citizens. I’m glad to be here today as we recognize the 30th Anniversary of the Baku pogroms and stand in solidarity with the people of the Republic of Artsakh,” added Congressman Bilirakis.
Additional members of Congress who expressed their support for the Armenian community condemning the Baku pogroms were Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. TJ Cox (D-CA), Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), Rep. Jim Acosta (D-CA) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL).
“By 1991, facing no international condemnation or sanctions, Azerbaijan’s authorities have escalated attacks on Armenians to the level of a full-scale military aggression against the Republic of Artsakh,” said Robert Avetisyan, Permanent Representative of Nagorno Karabakh.
“Those atrocities and attacks have become another unfortunate evidence that lack of a timely condemnation of any demonstration of aggression and fascism can lead to even greater human tragedy and unpredictable developments. We are grateful to the US legislature, our compatriots in the Armenian American organizations like the Armenian National Committee of America, Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian Council of America, and all organizations and structures who share our vision of a safe, strong and democratic Republic of Artsakh in a peaceful and prosperous South Caucasus,” added Avetisyan.