Apr 271998
 

Survivors of the Maraghar Massacre

It was truly like a contemporary Golgotha many times over.
Baroness Cox
4/27/1998

The ancient kingdom of Armenia was the first nation to embrace Christianity—in A.D. 301. Modern Armenia, formerly a Soviet republic, declared autonomy in September 1991 and today exists as a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. There you find many of the oldest churches in the world, and a people who have upheld the faith for nearly 1,700 years, often at great cost.

Nowhere has the cost been greater than in the little piece of ancient Armenia called Nagorno-Karabakh, cruelly cut off from the rest of Armenia by Stalin in 1921, and isolated today as a Christian enclave within Islamic Azerbaijan. Only 100 miles north to south, 50 miles east to west, there are mountains, forests, fertile valleys, and an abundance of ancient churches, monasteries, and beautifully carved stone crosses dating from the fourth century. Continue reading »

Oct 141993
 

Resolution 874 (1993)

Adopted by the Security Council at its 3292nd meeting, on 14 October 1993

The Security Council,

Reaffirming its resolutions 822 (1993) of 30 April 1993 and 853 (1993) of 29 July 1993, and recalling the statement read by the President of the Council, on behalf of the Council, on 18 August 1993 (S/26326),

Having considered the letter dated 1 October 1993 from the Chairman of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Minsk Conference on Nagorny Karabakh addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/26522),

Expressing its serious concern that a continuation of the conflict in and around the Nagorny Karabakh region of the Azerbaijani Republic, and of the tensions between the Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijani Republic, would endanger peace and security in the region,

Taking note of the high-level meetings which took place in Moscow on 8 October 1993 and expressing the hope that they will contribute to the improvement of the situation and the peaceful settlement of the conflict,

Reaffirming the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Azerbaijani Republic and of all other States in the region,

Reaffirming also the inviolability of international borders and the inadmissibility of the use of force for the acquisition of territory,

Expressing once again its grave concern at the human suffering the conflict has caused and at the serious humanitarian emergency in the region and expressing in particular its grave concern at the displacement of large numbers of civilians in the Azerbaijani Republic,

1. Calls upon the parties concerned to make effective and permanent the cease-fire established as a result of the direct contacts undertaken with the assistance of the Government of the Russian Federation in support of the CSCE Minsk Group;

2. Reiterates again its full support for the peace process being pursued within the framework of the CSCE, and for the tireless efforts of the CSCE Minsk Group;

3. Welcomes and commends to the parties the Adjusted timetable of urgent steps to implement Security Council resolutions 822 (1993) and 853 (1993) set out on 28 September 1993 at the meeting of the CSCE Minsk Group and submitted to the parties concerned by the Chairman of the Group with the full support of nine other members of the Group, and calls on the parties to accept it;

4. Expresses the conviction that all other pending questions arising from the conflict and not directly addressed in the adjusted timetable should be settled expeditiously through peaceful negotiations in the context of the CSCE Minsk process;

5. Calls for the immediate implementation of the reciprocal and urgent steps provided for in the CSCE Minsk Group’s Adjusted timetable, including the withdrawal of forces from recently occupied territories and the removal of all obstacles to communications and transportation;

6. Calls also for an early convening of the CSCE Minsk Conference for the purpose of arriving at a negotiated settlement to the conflict as provided for in the timetable, in conformity with the 24 March 1992 mandate of the CSCE Council of Ministers;

7. Requests the Secretary-General to respond favourably to an invitation to send a representative to attend the CSCE Minsk Conference and to provide all possible assistance for the substantive negotiations that will follow the opening of the Conference;

8. Supports the monitoring mission developed by the CSCE;

9. Calls on all parties to refrain from all violations of international humanitarian law and renews its call in resolutions 822 (1993) and 853 (1993) for unimpeded access for international humanitarian relief efforts in all areas affected by the conflict;

10. Urges all States in the region to refrain from any hostile acts and from any interference or intervention which would lead to the widening of the conflict and undermine peace and security in the region;

11. Requests the Secretary-General and relevant international agencies to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the affected civilian population and to assist refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes in security and dignity;

12. Requests also the Secretary-General, the Chairman-in-Office of the CSCE and the Chairman of the CSCE Minsk Conference to continue to report to the Council on the progress of the Minsk process and on all aspects of the situation on the ground, and on present and future cooperation between the CSCE and the United Nations in this regard;

13. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.


Source: Security Council Resolutions 1993

Original Document: UN SC Res. 874 (1993)

Apr 301993
 

Resolution 822 (1993)

Adopted by the Security Council at its 3205th meeting, on 30 April 1993

The Security Council,

Recalling the statements of the President of the Security Council of 29 January 1993 (S/25199) and of 6 April 1993 (S/25539) concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,

Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General dated 14 April 1993 (S/25600),

Expressing its serious concern at the deterioration of the relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan,

Noting with alarm the escalation in armed hostilities and, in particular, the latest invasion of the Kelbadjar district of the Republic of Azerbaijan by local Armenian forces,

Concerned that this situation endangers peace and security in the region,

Expressing grave concern at the displacement of a large number of civilians and the humanitarian emergency in the region, in particular in the Kelbadjar district,

Reaffirming the respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States in the region,

Reaffirming also the inviolability of international borders and the inadmissibility of the use of force for the acquisition of territory,

Expressing its support for the peace process being pursued within the framework of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and deeply concerned at the distruptive effect that the escalation in armed hostilities can have on that process,

1. Demands the immediate cessation of all hostilities and hostile acts with a view to establishing a durable cease-fire, as well as immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces from the Kelbadjar district and other recently occupied areas of Azerbaijan;

2. Urges the parties concerned immediately to resume negotiations for the resolution of the conflict within the framework of the peace process of the Minsk Group of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and refrain from any action that will obstruct a peaceful solution of the problem;

3. Calls for unimpeded access for international humanitarian relief efforts in the region, in particular in all areas affected by the conflict in order to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population and reaffirms that all parties are bound to comply with the principles and rules of international humanitarian law;

4. Requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Chairman-in-Office of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe as well as the Chairman of the Minsk Group of the Conference to assess the situation in the region, in particular in the Kelbadjar district of Azerbaijan, and to submit a further report to the Council;

5. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.


Source: Security Council Resolutions 1993

Original Document: UN SC Res. 822 (1993)

Sep 021991
 

Joint session of the Nagorno Karabakh Oblast and Shahoumian regional councils of people’s deputies with the participation of deputies of councils of all levels

Expressing the will of people, in fact, fixed by a referendum and in the decisions of the NKAO and Shahoumian regional authorities in 1988-1991, its strive for freedom, independence, equality and good neighbourly relations;

ascertaining proclamation by the Azerbaijani Republic of the “restoration of 1918-1920 state independence”;

taking into consideration that the policy of apartheid and discrimination pursued in Azerbaijan created an atmosphere of hatred and intolerance in the Republic towards the Armenian people, which led to armed conflict, human victims, mass deportation of the population from peaceful Armenian villages;

being guided by the USSR acting Constitution and laws giving the population of autonomous units and compactly living ethnic groups the right to decide independently the issue of their state-legal status in case of a Soviet Republic’s secession from the USSR;

considering the Armenian people’s strive for unification natural and in line with the norms of international law;

striving for restoration of good neighbourly relations between Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples, based on mutual respect of each other’s rights;

taking into consideration the complexity and contradictoriness of the situation in the state, uncertainty of the Union’s future, Union’s structures of authority and governance;

respecting and following the principles of General Declaration on Human Rights and International Pact on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Pact on Civil, Political and Cultural Rights and with hope for international community’s understanding and support,

PROCLAIMS:

THE NAGORNO KARABAKH REPUBLIC WITHIN THE BORDERS OF THE CURRENT NAGORNO KARABAKH AUTONOMOUS OBLAST AND NEIGHBORING SHAHOUMIAN REGION. (Abr. NKR)

The Nagorno Karabakh Republic enjoys the authorities given to Republics by the USSR Constitution and legislation and reserves the right to decide independently the issue of its state-legal status based on political consultations and negotiations with the leadership of Union and Republics.

The USSR Constitution and legislation, as well as other laws currently in force, which do not contradict the goals and principles of this Declaration and peculiarities of the Republic apply on the territory of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, until the NKR Constitution and laws are adopted.

Joint Session of the Nagorno Karabakh Oblast 
and Shahumian regional councils of people’s deputies
with the participation of deputies of councils of all levels

September 2, 1991


Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

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

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

Mar 011988
 

The Karabagh File. Documents and Facts, 1918-1988

First Edition, Cambridge Toronto 1988
By the ZORYAN INSTITUTE
Edited by: Gerard J. LIBARIDIAN

In late February 1988, the world was shocked by a week-long series of demonstrations in Yerevan, capital of the Armenian S.S.R., one of the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union. Although peaceful, the place, size, length, and apparent suddenness of the demonstrations brought to world consciousness names of people and places as intractable as the issues they embody. The sights and sounds of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators seeking to influence policy makers in the central government of the U.S.S.R. and bring about changes in internal boundaries highlighted the promise and challenge of glasnost and perestroika. The question of Mountainous Karabagh also raised the thorny issue of Soviet nationalities policy.

The day to day interpretations accompanying the drama that unfolded could not have been expected to reveal the roots and dimensions of the question of Mountainous Karabagh, a 4,500 sq km Armenian-populated-area which Armenians are hoping will be reattached to their land. There is a gap between the fascination with the question and available information.

This is a unique volume which attempts to bridge that gap. Through the extensive use of original documents, maps, statistical data, a chronology, and photographs covering the last eighty years, the Zoryan Institute and its staff provide the reader not only the necessary information but also the context within which it is possible to analyze the problems.

File: The Karabagh File
Source: Zoryan Institute Continue reading »