Mar 141991
 

The European Parliament,

  1. whereas the inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh have been calling on the central authorities of the USSR for a just solution to the question of their region since February 1988,
  2. whereas, as a consequence of the decision by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on 28 November 1989, the state of emergency imposed by the military governor of this region has entailed the removal of all the legitimate authorities and continual violations of human rights, such as arbitrary arrests, censorship and deportations,
  3. whereas the referendum of 17 March 1991 — which Armenia has decided to boycott — will not provide a solution to the Karabakh problem, which calls for a special referendum of a different kind enabling the national groups in this region to exercise their right to self-determination;
  4. whereas the blockade afflicting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, which is sometimes suspended only to be subsequently re-imposed more severely, is raising the tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia to breaking point,
  5. whereas the 300 000 Armenians who have fled from Azerbaijan (Baku and Sumgait massacres) to Armenia are in a state of complete destitution and require urgent aid,
  6. whereas the shortage of energy, and in particular gas, currently affecting Armenia as a result of the blockade has given rise to serious problems in that republic, including the closure of factories, unemployment and paralysis of the transport system,
  7. whereas as a result of the earthquake and the massacres of Armenians in Azerbaijan more than 500 000 people are now faced with extreme hardship, unable to obtain heating at a time when the temperatures in the region could be falling to 25° below zero,
  1. Calls on President Gorbachev to take urgent and effective steps to bring an end once and for all to the intermittent blockades affecting Armenia and Karabakh and to the threats to the security of the national groups in Karabakh and the neighbouring Armenian enclaves who are seemingly being deliberately forced out;
  2. Calls on President Gorbachev to restore to office the legitimate and constitutional political authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh;
  3. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Government of the Soviet Union.

Source: Resolution B3-0473/91 [22.4.91 Official Journal of the European Communities No C 106/121]

File: European Parliament Resolution B3-0473/91

Sep 271990
 

(This is a joint initiative of the Helsinki Treaty Watchdog Committee of France and intellectuals from the College International de Philosophie, Paris.)

An era which we all thought had ended, the era of pogroms, has resurfaced. Once again this year, the Armenian community of Azerbaijan has been the victim of atrocious and intolerable premeditated massacres.

As scholars, writers, scientists, political leaders and artists we wish, first of all, to express our profound indignation over such barbaric acts, which we wanted to believe belonged to humanity’s past.

We intend this statement as more than an after-the-fact condemnation. We want to alert international public opinion to the continuing danger that racism represents to the future of humanity. It forebodes ill that we are experiencing the same powerlessness when faced with such flagrant violations of human rights a half century after the genocide of the Jewish people in Nazi concentration camps and forty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It would be inexcusable if, because of our silence now, we contributed to the suffering of new victims.

The situation of Armenians in the Caucasus is, in fact, too serious for us to remain silent. There are moments when we must assume the moral obligation to assist a people in peril. Our sense of obligation leads us today to appeal to the international community and to public opinion.

More than two years ago, active persecution against Armenians began in Azerbaijan. The pogroms of Sumgait in February, 1988 were followed by massacres in Kirovapat and Baku in November 1988. As recently as January 1990, the pogroms continued in Baku and other parts of Azerbaijan. The mere fact that these pogroms were repeated and the fact that they followed the same pattern lead us to think that these tragic events are not accidents or spontaneous outbursts.

Rather, we are compelled to recognize that crimes against the Armenian minority have become consistent practice—if not official policy—in Soviet Azerbaijan. According to the late Andrei Sakharov (New York Times, November 26, 1988), these pogroms constitute “a real threat of extermination” to the indigenous Armenian community in Azerbaijan and in the autonomous region of Mountainous Karabagh, whose inhabitants are 80 percent Armenian.

Horror has not limits, especially when we remember that the threat is against Armenian people who in 1915 paid dearly for their right to be different in the Ottoman Empire. There, Armenians lost half their population to genocide, the worst consequence of racism. Furthermore, if the recent pogroms have revived nightmares of extermination not yet overcome, the current total blockade of Armenia and Mountainous Karabagh and 85 percent of those into Armenia pass through Azerbaijan; it would not be an exaggeration to maintain that such a blockade amounts to the strangulation of Armenia. In a land devastated by the earthquake of December 7, 1988, the blockade has paralyzed the economy and dealt a mortal blow to the reconstruction efforts.

It is our sincere hope that perestroika will succeed. But we also hope for the success of glasnost and democratization. We recognize that the passage from a totalitarian state to a rule of law can not be achieved overnight. It is nonetheless necessary that in the process of transition, the government of the Soviet Union promote, legalize and institutionalize such critical forces for democracy as human rights, the principle of toleration, and democratic movements. There is no better defense and demonstration of democracy. At any rate, that is the only way to avoid the worst. In the case of a multinational state, the worst may mean threats to the right of a people or a minority to exist. It is during periods of transition and uncertainty that rights of peoples—today Armenians, tomorrow another people or minority—are threatened or denied. In this respect, the ease with which we see today the development in the USSR of racist movements, especially the anti-Semitic movement know as Pamyat, is for us cause for grave concern.

In the name of our duty of vigilance, we demand that Soviet authorities as well as the international community condemn unequivocally these anti-Armenian pogroms and that they denounce especially the racist ideology which has been used by the perpetrators of these crimes as justification.

We ask from the Soviet authorities and the international community that all necessary measures be taken immediately to ensure the protection and security of Armenians in the Caucasus and other parts of the Soviet Union. This can begin by bringing about a definitive lifting of the Azerbaijani blockade.

It should be clear that the forceful deportation of Armenians is not the solution to the problem of Mountainous Karabagh which, in essence, is a problem of human rights.

Because the genocide of 1915 began with pogroms and massive deportations, and because that painful memory still endures, Armenia lives today in anguish and despair.

It is in such circumstances that the international community of states under the rule of law must prove the authenticity of its commitment to human rights in order to ensure that, due to indifference and silence bordering on complicity, a second genocide does not occur.

David Aaron (Trustee, International League for Human Rights)
Sir Isaiah Berlin (All Souls College, Oxford)
William M. Chace (President of Wesleyan University)
Jacques Derrida (Philosophy, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris)
Luc Ferry (Philosophy, University of Rennes)
Alain Finkelkraut (Philosophy, Paris)
Hans-Georg Gadamer (Philosophy, University of Heidelberg)
André Glucksmann (Philosophy, Paris)
Vartan Gregorian (History, Brown University)
Jürgen Habermas (Philosophy, University of Frankfurt)
Agnes Heller (Philosophy, The New School for Social Research)
Benjamin L. Hooks (Executive Director, NAACP)
Leszek Kolakowski (Philosophy, All Souls College, Oxford)
Emmanuel Levinas (Philosophy, University of Paris IV, Sorbonne)
Adrian Lyttelton (History, Johns Hopkins Center for International Studies)
Jacques Poulain (Philosophy, University of Paris VIII)
Hilary Putnam (Boston)
Paul Ricoeur (Philosophy, University of Paris/Nanterre)
Richard Rorty (Philosophy, University of North Carolina)
Jerome J. Shestack (Chairman, International League for Human Rights)
Charles Taylor (Philosophy & Political Science, McGill University, Montreal)
Reiner Wiehl (Philosophy, University of Heidelberg)
Reginald E. Zelnick (Professor of History, University of California at Berkeley)
and 110 others


Source: New York Times

Sep 011990
 

“The Sumgait Tragedy: Pogroms Against Armenians in Soviet Azerbaijan (Volume I, Eyewitness Accounts)”

By the ZORYAN INSTITUTE
Edited by: Samyel SHAHMURATIAN

For three days in February, 1988, the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait became the arena of pogroms against the Armenians of the city. The Sumgait tragedy was a brutal, organized attempt to block a political solution to the peaceful demands of the Armenians of Mountainous Karabagh for self-determination. These events marked the beginning of a premeditated plan to depopulate Azerbaijan of Armenians, and eventually of Russians and Jews.
The Sumgait Tragedy: Pogroms Against Armenians in Soviet Azerbaijan (Volume I, Eyewitness Accounts) is a compilation of 36 interviews conducted by Armenian journalist Samvel Shahmuratian with 45 of the Sumgait survivors. These testimonies give painful answers to critical questions? What happened in Sumgait? Why was the impending slaughter not averted? Why did measures to halt the massacres come too late? Why did the events not receive complete analysis and coverage by the mass media, the government, and judicial bodies? The answers to these questions come from the victims themselves, in halting painful narratives. Maps included.

Source: Zoryan Institute

Mar 151990
 

The European Parliament,

A. having regard to the serious humanitarian and economic situation in Armenia following the earthquake in 1988,

B. concerned at information from Soviet opposition groups showing that 500 000 people in Armenia are homeless and some 100 000 Armenians are travelling the Soviet Union in search of homes and jobs,

C. dismayed that a large proportion of the aid destined for the suffering Armenians has failed to reach them,

D. concerned at the human rights situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is administered by Azerbaijan against the will of the majority of its inhabitants, more than 75% of whom are Armenians, and at the continuing violence in Azerbaijan,

 

1. Calls on the Commission and the Foreign Ministers meeting in EPC to urge the Soviet government to improve the humanitarian and economic situation in Armenia and to request the Soviet government to seek a peaceful solution for Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh and elsewhere in Azerbaijan;

2. Calls on the United Nations to take a more active role with regard to the problem of refugees and homelessness in Armenia;

3. Resolves to send a small delegation to Armenia and Azerbaijan to report to Parliament and the European public on the situation of the Armenians;

4. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Foreign Ministers meeting in EPC, the governments of the Member States and the government of the Soviet Union.


Source: Resolution B3-556/90 [17.4.90 Official Journal of the European Communities No C 96/260]

File: European Parliament Resolution B3-556/90

Jan 191990
 

Azerbaijan is no Lithuania. True, resurgent nationalism arouses people in the Caucasus just as it arouses the Baltic republics. But there the comparison ends – and the trouble for Moscow begins.

Nationalists in Lithuania are struggling to wrest independence from Moscow by nonviolent, political means. Nationalists in Azerbaijan also talk of independence, but their protest includes bloody pogroms against their Armenian neighbors. Nor do Azerbaijani nationalists limit their actions to Soviet Azerbaijan. They transgress the border with Iran to make common cause with Azerbaijanis there.

Mikhail Gorbachev seems prepared to bargain with Lithuania’s nationalists. But Azerbaijan’s violent nationalists leave him no choice but to send in the troops.

The nationalism now surging from Omsk to Tomsk is an understandable reaction to decades of forced assimilation. Stalin redrew borders, relocated populations and suppressed cultural and religious differences, all in the name of internationalism. But ancient national aspirations did not dis-appear.

This week’s massacre in Baku, of predominantly Christian Armenians by Muslim Azerbaijanis, shows nationalism at its nastiest. Generations of religious hatred erupted in spasmodic violence two years ago as armed Azerbaijanis rampaged through the town of Sumgait and slaughtered 32 people, mostly Armenians. After the 1988 earthquake that killed 25,000 Armenians, Azerbaijanis blocked railways to Armenia, holding up aid. Now the rivals vie for control of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave that Stalin incorporated into Azerbaijan in 1923.


The Armenians sought protection from Moscow. Mr. Gorbachev first resisted but renewed strife forced him to intervene. The Azerbaijanis added to his unease by declaring their interest in carving out a state on both sides of the national border. This was a clear threat to Iran’s territorial integrity and its warming relations with the Soviet Union. Teheran asked the Soviets to beef up border patrols.

Mr. Gorbachev and his reformist Kremlin allies are prepared to tolerate, even encourage, moderate nationalists who challenge central control and demand autonomy. But Moscow rightly feels that, in a polyglot country with 104 different nationalities, ethnic violence is beyond the pale.

Azerbaijan dramatizes Mr. Gorbachev’s larger dilemma. To generate economic thrust, he wants to shift power from Moscow’s stodgy bureaucracies to the regional republics. But how can he do this without unleashing nationalist hatreds and irredentism? The problem is illustrated by the struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region as big as Long Island with a population of 160,000.

Putting either Azerbaijanis or Armenians in charge would leave one people at the mercy of the other. Moscow has to assume direct control. But that runs counter to Mr. Gorbachev’s desire for devolution. And the troops, once introduced, will be difficult to extricate. Nothing so challenges Mr. Gorbachev’s resourcefulness, and his fragile coalition of reformists and moderate nationalists, as the flow of blood in the Caucasus.


Source: New York Times

Jan 181990
 

The European Parliament

A. having regard to the resumption of anti-Armenian activities by the Azeris in Baku (an initial estimate talks of numerous victims, some of whom died in particularly horrific circumstances) and the attacks on Armenian villages outside Nagorno-Karabakh, such as Shaumyan and Getashen,

B. whereas there is severe tension on the border between Armenia and Nakhichevan which could lead to serious incidents,

C. whereas the blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh has been reinstated by Azerbaijan as harshly as ever,

D. whereas the Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan are almost in a state of war,

E. deploring the increased nationalism now evident which can only prejudice justified national pride,

F. whereas the conflict now taking place is largely the result of the dividing up of the territory imposed by Lenin in Transcaucasia, and particularly the forced integration of the Autonomous Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, mainly populated by Armenian Christians, into the Muslim republic of Azerbaijan in 1923.

G. whereas the decision taken by the Supreme Soviet on 28 November 1989 to alter the present status of Nagorno-Karabakh flies in the face of the wishes of the population of that autonomous region, thus creating even more ‘explosive’ conditions,

H. whereas the Fabian tactics of the Soviet authorities over the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh has helped to worsen the situation for which it would have been possible to find a peaceful solution some eighteen months ago,

I. noting with concern that, according to some sources, arms from Iran have been delivered to the Azeris,

J. having regard to the many political, ethnic and economic difficulties facing the Soviet Government,

K. concerned at the consequences that the repeated threats of secession could have on the budding process of democratization in the Soviet Union and on the maintenance and strengthening of peace,

L. having regard to its resolution of 7 July 1988 on the situation in Soviet Armenia (‘),

 

1. Calls on the Commission and Council to make representations to the Soviet authorities with a view to ensuring:

— that they order the full and immediate lifting of the blockade imposed on Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh,

— that they find a lasting political solution to the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh,

— that they guarantee real protection for the Armenian people living in Azerbaijan by sending forces to intervene,

— that they guarantee freedom of movement and the safety of goods and persons between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh,

— that the circumstances surrounding the pogroms perpetrated against the Armenians, in particular in Sumgait and Kirovabad, Azerbaijan, are brought fully to light;

2. Calls on the Commission to grant substantial emergency aid to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh in the form of basic essentials;

3. Calls on the authorities of the Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan to seek the means of achieving a peaceful settlement to the conflict between the two communities;

4. Calls on all countries, in particular the countries bordering on Armenia and Azerbaijan, to avoid all interference;

5. Instructs its Bureau to consider the appropriateness of sending a fact-finding mission to Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia to report to the Political Affairs Committee;

6. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission and Council, the Governments of Iran, Turkey and the USSR, the Governments of the SSRs of Armenia and Azerbaijan and the Secretary General of the UN.


Source: Joint resolution replacing Docs. B3-137, 139, 145, 156, 157 and 162/90 [19.2.90 Official Journal of the European Communities No C 38/81]

File: European Parliament Joint resolution replacing Docs. B3-137, 139, 145, 156, 157 and 162/90

Jan 191989
 

The European Parliament,

A. having regard to the earthquake which recently shook Soviet Armenia,

B. whereas the Soviet authorities have arrested all the leaders of the Kharabakh Committee,

C. whereas this committee requested the reattachment of the autonomous region of Upper Kharabakh to Soviet Armenia, it having been arbitrarily given by Stalin to Azerbaïdjan,

D. whereas this committee is also demanding that Soviet Armenia should be able to exercise its sovereign rights as a republic within the framework of the USSR and that its citizens should enjoy the basic freedoms and human rights,

1. Condemns the arrest of leaders of the Kharabakh Committee and calls for their immediate release;

2. Welcomes the decision by the Supreme Soviet of 12 January 1989 of the creation of a special status for the Nagorno-Kharabakh autonomous region with a view to preventing renewed outbreaks of unrest resulting from tensions between the nationalities and to stabilize the situation in the region;

3. Hopes that the Kharabakh Committee will be able to carry out its activities freely and calls on the Soviet authorities to accord it full recognition as an interlocutor;

4. Expresses the hope that the development of national legislations will provide a genuine guarantee that the fundamental rights and freedoms of all will be respected and that all religions may be freely exercised as a civil and social right;

5. Asks the Soviet Government also to ensure the effective protection of Armenians living in Azerbaïdjan, where further acts of violence against the Armenians have occurred despite the earthquake;

6. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the Soviet Armenian and Azerbaïdjan authorities.


Source: Joint resolution replacing Docs. B2-1262, 1296 and 1304/88 [27.2.82 Official Journal of the European Communities No C 47/130]

File: European Parliament Joint resolution replacing Docs. B2-1262, 1296 and 1304/88

Nov 261988
 

The Soviet human-rights campaigner Andrei D. Sakharov asserted yesterday that more than 130 Armenians had been killed by Azerbaijani mobs in the city of Kirovabad during the spreading ethnic unrest in the southern Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

”With the authorities’ connivance, the murders, rapes and arsons are continuing now for a fifth day and are spreading to other cities and towns of Azerbaijan,” Mr. Sakharov said in a statement from Newton, Mass.

The outspoken Soviet physicist, who is visiting the United States on a visa rarely granted by Moscow to its critics, called on the Soviet Government to ”take the necessary measures to insure the safety of the Armenian population, including the introduction of sufficient troops into Azerbaijan for this purpose.”

Dr. Sakharov said he had received reports from the Soviet Union that ”more than 130 Armenians have been killed in the city of Kirovabad by Azerbaijani rioters inflamed by nationalist passions, and more than 200 Armenians had been wounded.” ‘Threat of Genocide’


Source: New York Times

Jul 071988
 

The European Parliament,

A. having regard to the recent public demonstrations in Soviet Armenia demanding that the Nagorno-Karabakh region be reunited with the Republic of Armenia,

B. having regard to the historic status of the autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh (80 % of whose present population is Armenian) as part of Armenia, to the arbitrary inclusion of this area within Azerbaijan in 1923 and to the massacre of Armenians in the Azerbaijani town of Sumgait in February 1988,

C. whereas the deteriorating political situation, which has led to anti-Armenian pogroms in Sumgait and serious acts of violence in Baku, is in itself a threat to the safety of the Armenians living in Azerbaijan,

1. Condemns the violence employed against Armenian demonstrators in Azerbaijan;

2. Supports the demand of the Armenian minority for reunification with the Socialist Republic of Armenia;

3. Calls on the Supreme Soviet to study the compromise proposals from the Armenian delegates in Moscow suggesting that Nagorno-Karabakh be temporarily governed by the central administration in Moscow, temporarily united to the Federation of Russia or temporarily placed under the authority of a ‘presidential regional government’;

4. Calls also upon the Soviet authorities to ensure the safety of the 500 000 Armenians currently living in Soviet Azerbaijan and to ensure that those found guilty of having incited or taken part in the pogroms against the Armenians are punished according to Soviet law;

5. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Government of the Soviet Union.


Source: Joint resolution replacing Docs. B2-538 and 587/88 [12.9.88 Official Journal of the European Communities No C 235/106]

File: European Parliament Joint resolution replacing Docs. B2-538 and 587/88

Mar 101988
 

The European Parliament,

A. noting the scale of the mass demonstrations which have taken place in Soviet Armenia and the disturbances in Azarbaijan,

B. noting that these demonstrations took place in the wake of public protests by the Baltic and Tartar peoples,

C. aware that these protests result from the heritage of the past, from unsolved ethnic, cultural, religious and institutional problems and from repression, in some cases brutal, with regard to both individual rights and at national level,

 

1. States its intention to follow closely the attempts by various peoples in the Soviet Union to assert their identity, their culture and their autonomy;

2. Stresses that no serious attempt by the Soviet Government to implement a programme of economic and administrative reforms can succeed if it fails to take account of the desire for greater political and individual freedom;

3. Calls on the Member States of the European Community to adopt a common stand on these events which might directly concern the European Community;

4. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the Foreign Ministers meeting in European political cooperation.


Source: Joint resolution replacing Docs. B2-39, 47 and 67/88 [11.4.88 Official Journal of the European Communities No C 94/117]

File: European Parliament Joint resolution replacing Docs. B2-39, 47 and 67/88