BAKU, Azerbaijan, March 31. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Azerbaijan have issued a statement in connection with the Day of the Genocide of Azerbaijanis, Trend reports.
"From March 30 to April 3, 1918, armed gangs of Armenian Dashnaks committed an act genocide against Azerbaijanis in Baku city and various districts of the Baku province, as well as in Shamakhi, Guba, Khachmaz, Lankaran, Hajigabul, Salyan, Zangazur, Karabakh, Nakhchivan and other regions,” the statement said.
According to the statement, thousands of Azerbaijani civilians became victims of those events only because of their nationality.
“Unique historical monuments, schools, hospitals, mosques were destroyed and turned into ruins. The minarets of the Juma and Tezepir mosques [in Baku] were heavily damaged as a result of artillery fire opened on them by the military fleet stationed in the Caspian Sea,” the statement noted. “In Shamakhi alone, during the March Events, the Armenians completely destroyed 75 villages. The March massacre of 1918 was a pre-planned criminal act by radical nationalist Armenian groups against Azerbaijanis, carried out on the basis of a policy of racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing.”
Despite that more than a century has passed since the March act of genocide, those bloody events haven't been forgotten and left an indelible trace on the blood memory of Azerbaijani people, the statement also said.
The decree "On genocide of Azerbaijanis" signed on March 26, 1998 by the national leader Heydar Aliyev was an important step that prompted the disclosure of historical facts, giving a political assessment of these terrible events, March 31 was declared the Day of the Azerbaijani Genocide, the statement reminded.
“Recently, facts of massacres committed by Armenians during the events of 1918 have been revealed in Guba. The countless human remains found are clear evidence of Armenian atrocities and massacres,” the statement said. “In order to bring these facts to the attention of the international community, and to perpetuate the memory of the genocide victims, the Genocide Memorial Complex was established in Guba city by the relevant Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Every year, thousands of people visit this place to commemorate the victims of the genocide.”
According to international law, genocide is considered the most serious crime because it is directed against peace and humanity, the statement emphasized.
Besides, in the statement the NGOs expressed regret that despite the presence of sufficient grounds and evidence of acts of genocide committed by Armenia against Azerbaijanis, these crimes against humanity haven’t been adequately reacted by international organizations.
“As members of the Azerbaijani civil society, we are once again paying tribute to the memory of the victims of the genocide committed against Azerbaijanis with deep sorrow, and calling on the international community, international organizations to give an appropriate political and legal assessment of this act of genocide in the name of protecting human rights, preventing the commission of inhuman acts and the recurrency of such cases in the future," the statement concluded.