Azerbaijan Stops Searches Ahead of Armenian Pogrom Anniversary

02/26/2021 Azerbaijan (International Christian Concern) –  Today marks the 33rd anniversary of the Sumgait pogrom that took place against ethnic Armenian Christians. In late February 1988, Azerbaijanis attacked Armenians living in Sumgait, Azerbaijan, resulting in many deaths, looting, burnings of cars, and rioting. Pogroms and other acts of violence resulted in the near erasure of Armenians from Azerbaijan.

Now 33 years later, the violence and targeting of Armenians continue. Through the Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh) war this past fall, Armenian Christians were again forced from their homes. A new, hateful narrative is being rewritten by Azerbaijan in an attempt to negate the Christian history there and also justify their aggression. This aggression is supported and encouraged by Turkey, who is also amplifying Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev’s speech today that shows a desire for complete subjection of Karabakh’s Armenian community.

Azerbaijan has also forcibly stopped all search operations in Nagorno-Karabakh since February 15. This is the longest searches have stopped since the ceasefire agreement. These operations were conducted by Armenians looking for the bodies of those who died during the war.

Armenian Christians are being denied the right to bury their dead, or even to have confirmation of what happened to their loved ones as a result of Azerbaijan cutting off access to their newly-controlled territory. The Azerbaijani and Turkish narratives continue to reinforce how little they value the lives of ethnic Armenian Christians.

For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia: press@persecution.org. 

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