WASHINGTON, DC. – The bipartisan Congressional spotlight on Azerbaijan`s pogroms and massacres against ethnic Armenian civilians in Sumgait, Kirovabad, and Baku continued to shine as Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Robert Dold (R-IL), and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) added their voices to those marking the anniversary of these tragedy, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Over the past month, ten Members of Congress have issued statements on the pogroms including Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), the Co-Chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), the Ranking Democrat of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Adam Schiff (D-CA).
"Friends of Armenia and human rights advocates from across America thank Congressmen Sherman, Dold, and Pallone for joining with their U.S. House colleagues in marking the Sumgait, Kirovabad, and Baku pogroms," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We value their leadership in standing up to aggression - past and present - and in working toward a future of peace and justice for the citizens of Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh, and all the countries of the Caucasus."
Rep. Sherman opened his remarks, noting that, “On the evening of February 27, 1988, Armenian civilians living in Sumgait, in Soviet Azerbaijan, were violently targeted in a three-day rampage. Armenian civilians were hunted down and brutally assaulted. Some were raped, and some were burned alive at the hands of rioters.” He went on to discuss the subsequent Azerbaijani attacks against Armenians in Kirovabad and Baku, and noted that remembering is not enough. “We need to do more--we need to demonstrate to Azerbaijan that the United States is committed to peace and to the protection of Artsakh from coercion,” stated Rep. Sherman, who went on to urge that “we must urge Azerbaijan to cease all threats and acts of coercion against the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh.” He also went on to call on the Administration to “remove all barriers to broad-based U.S.-Nagorno Karabakh governmental and civil society communication, travel, and cooperation.”
Rep. Pallone, in his statement, noted that “The need for the government of Azerbaijan to fully recognize the Sumgait pogroms is not only in the interest of historical accuracy but also necessary to ensure a peaceful future. The just recognition of these crimes is the first step towards an enduring and peaceful resolution of the regional conflict. Stability in the region is needed now more than ever. The specter of violence indeed still looms and many Armenian lives continue to be subject to threats by the Azerbaijani government. Ceasefire violations by Azerbaijani armed forces at the contact line with the Nagorno Karabakh Republic have shown this to be true.” Rep. Pallone then noted that “President Aliyev recently announced that Azerbaijan is buying up modern weaponry to occupy the Nagorno Karabakh Republic,” and went on to “condemn all intimidations and acts of aggression against the Armenian people.”
Rep. Dold, for his part, cited the importance that we “not forget the anniversary of the tragic pogroms against Armenians living in Soviet Azerbaijan.” He went on to note that “as we remember those who lost their lives in Sumgait, we must continue to guard against all discrimination, oppression, and targeted violence against ethnic groups around the world.”