U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Vice-Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, issued a statement condemning the Armenian massacres in Sumgait committed by Azerbaijan 31 years ago, reports Armenpress.
“On February 27 1988, and for three days following, Azerbaijani mobs assaulted and killed Armenians. The violence left hundreds of Armenian civilians dead and injured, women and girls were raped, and some victims were burned alive. Thousands were forced to flee their homes, leaving behind their belonging”, the Congressman said in the statement.
Strictly criticizing the Azerbaijani authorities’ racist policy, Adam Schiff stated that the pogroms came as a direct result of years of vicious, racist anti-Armenian propaganda by Azerbaijani authorities, dehumanizing the Armenian residents of Azerbaijan and laying the groundwork for mass violence.
“Azerbaijani authorities made little effort to punish those responsible, instead attempting to cover up the atrocities in Sumgait to this day and denying the government role in instigating the killings. Indeed, even today, racist propaganda against Armenia and Armenians is prevalent in Azerbaijan”, the statement added.
The Congressman in his statement also touched upon the murder of Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan by an Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov with an axe at a NATO sponsored training in Budabest 15 years ago, describing this as a horrific crime which reflects Azerbaijan’s hatred and aggression towards Armenia.
“There is no more dramatic illustration of Azerbaijan’s continued posture of hatred and aggression towards their Armenian neighbor than their celebration of a cold-blooded murderer”, he said, condemning Safarov’s extradition to Azerbaijan and declaring him a hero.
“In two months we will mark the 104th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, an event the Turkish government, Azerbaijan’s closest ally, goes to great lengths to deny. We must not let such crimes against humanity go unrecognized, whether they occurred yesterday or 30 years ago or 100 years ago. Today, let us pause to remember the victims of the atrocities of the Sumgait pogroms. It is our moral obligation to condemn crimes of hatred and to remember the victims, in hope that history will not be repeated”, Adam Schiff said.