Mar 312011
 

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) was established by the Council of Europe. It is an independent human rights monitoring body specialised in questions relating to racism and intolerance. It is composed of independent and impartial members, who are appointed on the basis of their moral authority and recognised expertise in dealing with racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance.

In the framework of its statutory activities, ECRI conducts country-by-country monitoring work, which analyses the situation in each of the member States regarding racism and intolerance and draws up suggestions and proposals for dealing with the problems identified.

Here is what the 2011 ERCI report on Azerbaijan says about discrimination against persons of Armenian origin:

98. As mentioned in other parts of this report, persons of Armenian origin are at risk of being discriminated against in their daily lives. Certain people born of mixed Armenian-Azerbaijani marriages choose to use the name of their Azerbaijani parent so as to avoid problems in their contacts with officialdom; others who did not immediately apply for Azerbaijani identity documents when the former Soviet passports were done away with today encounter difficulties in obtaining identity papers. These problems and the prejudice reigning within society with regard to Armenians also cause serious difficulties of access to social rights.

99. ECRI is still deeply concerned about the fact that the constant negative official and media discourse concerning the Republic of Armenia helps to sustain a negative climate of opinion regarding people of Armenian origin coming under the Azerbaijani authorities’ jurisdiction. This prejudice is so ingrained that describing someone as an Armenian in the media is considered by some people – including by certain Armenians themselves – to qualify as an insult that justifies initiating judicial proceedings against the persons making such statements. ECRI underlines the seriousness of this situation, where it seems that persons belonging to the group discriminated against in this way may themselves have interiorised this discriminatory attitude.

100. ECRI is moreover puzzled by the contradictory information it has received as to the number of persons of Armenian origin currently living in Azerbaijan. On the basis of the previous census, 120 700 Armenians were living in Azerbaijan in 1999. The authorities have indicated that the number of Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh or the areas affected by the conflict over it could be estimated at about 120 000, in line with the results of the last census carried out in the region during the Soviet era. Outside those areas, 700 people declared themselves as being of Armenian origin. In view of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the areas affected by the conflict over it, it was again not possible to count the real number of Armenians living in this part of the country during the census carried out in 2009; the estimated figure of 120 000 will accordingly be deemed still current for these areas and only the figure of 700, corresponding to the number of persons actually counted in the remainder of Azerbaijani territory, is likely to change. ECRI points out that these explanations, albeit clear, differ strikingly from the figure of 30 000 Armenians living in the parts of Azerbaijan under the Azerbaijani authorities’ effective control, which is regularly cited by the authorities. ECRI considers that questions can be raised as to the reasons why less than 3% of those concerned are prepared officially to declare themselves as belonging to this group. Thought should be given, inter alia, to the measures that might be taken to eliminate the prejudices and stereotyping existing within the majority population that can give rise to discriminatory attitudes towards persons of Armenian origin.

101. ECRI refers to the recommendations made in other parts of this report concerning the need to adopt an appropriate response to all cases of discrimination and hate speech against Armenians, and to its recommendations concerning the application of the relevant legal provisions. It considers that the Azerbaijani authorities should actively contribute to generating a climate where all persons of Armenian origin living in Azerbaijan can declare their ethnic origin without fear.


File: 2011 ERCI Report on Azerbaijan
Source: Publications, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

May 161991
 

The European Parliament,

A. deploring the continual aggravation of violence in the Caucasus, particularly against Armenians in the autonomous region of Karabakh, an enclave within Azerbaijan,

B. whereas the most recent interventions by the Soviet army, instead of attempting to prevent further bloodshed, caused many casualties among the civilian population, and whereas this intervention combined with increased pressure from the Azerbaijanis, led to a large proportion of the population leaving Nagorno-Karabakh to take refuge in the Republic of Armenia,

C. respecting the decisions which will be taken independently by the people of the Soviet Union to determine their future, the state of their relations, and the destiny of their union,

D. recalling its earlier resolutions on this subject,

 

1. Condemns unequivocally the violence by the Soviet armed forces and the ‘Azerbaijani forces’ which has once more been inflicted on the Armenian population in Karabakh and Armenia;

2. Formally calls on the Soviet and Azerbaijani authorities to put an immediate stop to these acts of violence;

3. Urges the Soviet authorities to implement measures guaranteeing the following for Karabakh Armenians:

— physical safety,

— freedom of movement to Armenia,

— the raising of the blockade by Azerbaijan,

— the return of people driven away from their homes;

4. Supports all efforts aimed at finding a political settlement to the problems of Nagorno-Karabakh and the various national groups in the region, in compliance with human rights standards;

5. Calls on the central authorities of the Soviet Union to refrain from all acts of intimidation and from obstructing the planned referendum on the future of Armenia itself;

6. Calls on the populations affected by the tension to make a major effort to embrace peaceful coexistence and cooperation between persons belonging to different ethnic, cultural and religious groups;

7. Warns the Soviet Government that, under the conditions of the Paris Charter for a New Europe, the Community and its Member States cannot be indifferent to the brutal suppression of human rights in part of the USSR;

8. Instructs its Enlarged Bureau to consider whether it would be appropriate to send a representative delegation from the EP to the region;

9. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, European Political Cooperation, the Government of the USSR and the Governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan.


Source: Joint resolution replacing B3-0747, 0754, 0767, 0781, 0795, 0816, 0824 and 0827/91 [17.6.91 Official Journal of the European Communities No C 158/243]

File: European Parliament Joint resolution replacing B3-0747, 0754, 0767, 0781, 0795, 0816, 0824 and 0827/91

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 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

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