Dec 012012
 

“The Sumgait Syndrome. Anatomy of Racism in Azerbaijan”

MIA Publishers, 2012
By NGO “Against Xenophobia and Violence”

Sumgait is 26 kilometres from Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, and was home to some 18,000 Armenians in 1988. On 26 and 27 February 1988, demonstrations were organised in Sumgait under the slogan
“Death to Armenians!” What took place on the streets of Azerbaijan during the following three days has been referred to ever since with the horrific name of “Sumgait”.
The massacre of Armenians in Sumgait, February 27–29, were merely a continuation of the Azerbaijani authorities’ unswerving policy of racism towards Armenians and ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population, with unpunished killings and deportations.

FILE:

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Sep 102012
 

By PETER RUTLAND
Published: September 10, 2012

In recent days there have been two symbolic events that run the danger of igniting hostilities in an already tense neighborhood of the Caucasus.

On Aug. 31 a former Azerbaijan Army lieutenant, Ramil Safarov, flew back to Baku after serving eight years in a Budapest jail for killing Gurgen Margarian in 2004. The victim, an Armenian officer, had been a fellow participant in a NATO Partnership for Peace exercise. Safarov hacked him to death in his sleep with an ax.

The Hungarian government transferred the prisoner to Azerbaijan on the understanding that he would serve out the rest of his life sentence in his home country. But immediately upon his arrival in Baku, Lieutenant Safarov was pardoned by President Ilham Aliyev, restored to military duties, promoted to major, given an apartment and awarded back pay for his time in prison. These actions drew universal condemnation from Washington, Moscow and European governments.

Apart from the fact that such a step is an affront to basic notions of justice and the rule of law, even more troubling is the message that it sends to the rest of the world: that the Azerbaijani government thinks it is acceptable to kill Armenians. Apparently, the grievances they suffered in their defeat by Armenian forces in 1992-94 are so profound that even murder is excusable. It is hard, then, to ask the Armenians living in Karabakh to quietly accept the idea that the solution to their disputed territory is for them to return to living under Azerbaijani rule.

This one single act could undo the patient efforts of diplomats and activists over many years to try to rebuild connections and work toward mutual trust — without which any kind of peace settlement will be a pipe dream.

Compounding the problem was a less significant but still noteworthy gesture. On Sept. 3, Richard Morningstar, the new U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, paid his respects to Heidar Aliyev, the deceased former president (and father of the incumbent), by laying a wreath at his statue in central Baku. Apparently it is standard protocol for U.S. ambassadors to include this stop in their round of duties when arriving in Baku. Photographs also clearly showed the ambassador bowing his head before the monument, though a State Department spokesman later denied this.

Mr. Morningstar’s far from empty gesture sent two wrong signals.

First, it is disheartening to Azerbaijani democratic activists to see the United States so cravenly supporting dictatorship as a suitable form of rule, a pattern all too familiar from U.S. policy toward the entire Middle East.

Second, it signals to Armenia — and its principal ally, Russia — that the United States is an unqualified backer of the Azerbaijani government, warts and all. Strategic interests — Caspian oil, access to Central Asia, containment of Iran — count for more than the niceties of human rights and democratic procedure.

This makes it all but impossible for Armenia to expect the United States to act as an honest broker in the peace process. And if the United States cannot play that role, no one else will.

Diplomacy has long revolved around such symbolic acts. In 1793, the Earl Macartney, British ambassador to China, was thrown out of the country when he refused to kowtow before the emperor. More recently, visits by Japanese government ministers to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, commemorating the souls of warriors, have triggered protests from China and South Korea.

By contrast, when Chancellor Willy Brandt fell to his knees before the monument to the Warsaw Ghetto in 1970 he turned a page in German atonement for its past atrocities. In the same spirit, Vladimir Putin sent a clear message of reconciliation when in 2010 he knelt at the monument to the Polish officers killed at Katyn on Stalin’s orders.

What we need in the Caucasus are leaders willing to follow the examples of Mr. Brandt and Mr. Putin, with the courage to show contrition and a willingness to meet with their former adversary and figure out a way to live together. We may be in for a long wait.

Peter Rutland is a professor of government at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on September 11, 2012, in The International Herald Tribune.


Source: New York Times

Oct 192001
 

“The Making of Nagorno-Karabagh:  From Secession to Republic”

Palgrave Publishers Ltd 2001
Edited by: 
Levon CHOBAJIAN

The first major territorial struggle in the late Soviet period involved Nagorno-Karabagh, an Armenian-inhabited territory that had been assigned to the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic in the early 1920s. Armenian protests calling for reunification with Armenia in 1988 led to Azerbaijani pogroms against Armenians and later to armed conflict that claimed over 20,000 lives. The struggle remains unresolved. A distinguished group of historians and social scientists analyze the Karabagh struggle in this unique volume, which covers one of the world’s strategic, oil-rich regions.

A striking feature of the Karabagh conflict is the failure of the many OSCE, UN, and regional power mediation efforts to find a solution to the crisis. One of the major contributions of this volume is to provide a cogent analysis of these failures, which have to do with the inability to satisfy the legitimate security needs of the parties to the conflict.

The papers in this collection were delivered at a conference, “The Karabagh Movement: Ten Years After,” held in Cambridge, Massachusetts in May 1998. This conference, sponsored by the Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research and Documentation and the Zoryan Institute of Canada, assembled some of the leading analysts of the region to assess the Karabagh Question in the decade since the eruption of the historic protests that saw hundreds of thousands of Armenians march in support of Karabagh.

Chapter Available Online: Chapter 1. Introduction, by Levon CHOBAJIAN © Continue reading »

Apr 011993
 

Ethnic Cleansing in Progress: War in Nagorno Karabakh

Institute for Religious Minorities in Islamic World (April 1993)
By Caroline COX and John EIBNER

Contents
Preface
Introduction
Basic Facts
A Conflict of Civilizations
The Genocide
The Pincers of Pan-Turkism
Soviet Rule
The Karabakh Question Revived
Operation Ring
The Post-Soviet Conflict
The Characteristics of the People of Nagorno Karabakh
The Prognosis: Continuing Bloodshed
Conclusions
Recommendations


Available online at: Sumgait.info

Jan 061992
 

Considering the intrinsic right of nations to self-determination and being guided by the free will of the people of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic expressed at the Republican referendum on December 10, 1991;

Realizing responsibility for the destiny of the historical Motherland;

Being committed to the principles of the September 2, 1991 Declaration On Proclamation of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic;

Striving to normalize relations between the Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples;

Wishing to defend the population of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic from external attacks and physical extermination;

Developing free and democratic self-government experience that Nagorno Karabagh had in 1918-1920

Expressing readiness to establish equal and mutually beneficial relations with all states and commonwealth of states;

Respecting and being guided by the principles of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Concluding Document of the Vienna Meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and other universally recognized norms of international law;

The Supreme Council of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic asseverates the proclaimed independent statehood of the NKR

The Nagorno Karabagh Republic is an independent state that has its national flag, emblem and anthem. The Constitution and laws of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic as well as international legal documents regulating human rights and freedoms prevail on the whole territory of the Republic.

The bearer of sovereignty and the sole source of power in the Nagorno Karabagh are the people of the Republic who exercise their power and will through nationwide referenda or representative organs.

All the inhabitants of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic are citizens of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic. Double citizenship is allowed in the Nagorno Karabagh Republic. The citizens of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic are under the protection of the Republic. The Nagorno Karabagh Republic ensures rights and freedoms of its citizens irrespective of nationality, race and religion.

To protect and secure its citizens the Nagorno Karabagh Republic forms armed forces as well as forces protecting public order and state security. These forces are under the control of the leadership of the Republic. The citizens of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic do military service in the territory of the NKR. Citizens of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic can do military service in other countries and in the armed forces of foreign states stationed within the territory of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic in accordance with interstate treaties and agreements.

Being the subject if international law, the Nagorno Karabagh Republic conducts independent foreign policy, establishes direct relations with other states, partakes in the activities of international organizations.

The land, water and air space, natural, material and spiritual wealth belong to the people of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic. The procedure of utilization and ownership this wealth are regulated by laws of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic.

The basis of the NKR’s economy is the equality of all forms of property as well as equal opportunities for all the citizens of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic for full and free participation in economic life.

The Nagorno Karabagh Republic recognizes the supremacy of human rights, guarantees freedom of speech and conscience, political and public activity as well as all civil rights recognized by the international community. National minorities are under the protection of the state. The state structure of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic provides all possibilities for the full participation of national minorities in political, economic and spiritual life of the Republic. Any sorts of discrimination based on nationality, race or religion is prohibited by law
The Armenian language is the state language of the NKR. The Nagorno Karabagh Republic recognizes the right of national minorities to use their languages without any limitations in economic, cultural and educational spheres.

The Declaration on Proclamation of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights will serve as the basis for the Constitution and legislation of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic.

Stepanakert
January 6, 1992.


Source: Official website of the President of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic

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

May 171991
 

SRES 128 ATS

102d CONGRESS
1st Session
S. RES. 128

Condemning violence in Armenia.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 17 (legislative day, APRIL 25), 1991

Mr. LEVIN (for himself, Mr. DOLE, Mr. PRESSLER, Mr. PELL, Mr. SEYMOUR, Mr. SIMON, Mr. KASTEN, Mr. KENNEDY, Mr. SPECTER, Mr. SARBANES, Mr. WARNER, Mr. DECONCINI, Mr. RIEGLE, Mr. BRADLEY, and Mr. HELMS) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to


RESOLUTION

Condemning violence in Armenia.

Whereas the Government of the Soviet Union and Government of the Azerbaijan Republic have dramatically escalated their attacks against civilian Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, and Armenia itself;

Whereas the Government of the Soviet Union has refused Armenia’s request to convene a special session of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Supreme Soviet to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis;

Whereas Soviet and Azerbaijani forces have destroyed Armenian villages and depopulated Armenian areas in and around Nagorno-Karabakh in violation of internationally recognized human rights; and

Whereas armed militia threaten stability and peace in Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Azerbaijan: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that the Senate–

  1. condemns the attacks on innocent children, women, and men in Armenian areas and communities in and around Nagorno-Karabakh and in Armenia;
  2. condemns the indiscriminate use of force, including the shelling of civilian areas, on Armenia’s eastern and southern borders;
  3. calls for the end to the blockades and other uses of force and intimidation directed against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, and calls for the withdrawal of Soviet forces newly deployed for the purpose of intimidation;
  4. calls for dialogue among all parties involved as the only acceptable route to achieving a lasting resolution of the conflict; and
  5. reconfirms the commitment of the United States to the success of democracy and self-determination in the Soviet Union and its various republics, by expressing its deep concern about any Soviet action of retribution, intimidation, or leverage against those Republics and regions which have chosen to seek the fulfillment of their political aspirations.

Source: THOMAS (Library of Congress)

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