Belgium, Brussels / corr. Trend R.Tagiyev / The Embassy of Azerbaijan in Belgium disseminated a press-release regarding Genocide Day of the Azerbaijanis - 31 March, Trend Special Correspondent in Brussels reports. The document says "Several years after regaining its independence in 1991 the people of Azerbaijan has been rediscovering a tragic pages of national history, which were kept in dark by previous regimes and were never revealed to public or studied. Those pages lived only in hearts and minds of people as stories told by the elderly eyewitnesses from generations to generations. Research and investigation carried out on the basis of newly discovered documents disclosed the history of unspeakable sufferings of the people of Azerbaijan who had been subjected to the forced mass deportations, nationalist oppressions and persecutions amounting to the actual genocide carried out during the last 2 centuries by Armenian militant nationalism using the conflict of big power interests in the region.
In commemoration of all the tragic acts perpetrated against the Azerbaijani people, the President of Azerbaijan signed in 1998 the Decree proclaiming March 31 as the Day of Genocide of the Azerbaijanis. This was the restitution of the National Day of Mourning of 31 March established and first observed in 1919 and 1920 by the independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in commemoration of the mass slauther of tens of thousand civilian population carried out by Armenian nationalists in Baky in 1918. In essence, this was the first attempt of a political assessment of the policy of genocide perpetrated against the Azerbaijanis and occupation of our lands. However, the demise of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1920 made it impossible to complete this work.
The policy of genocide and ethnic cleansing by the Armenian government against Azerbaijanis resumed and reached its climax in the end of 1980's. Still on the territory of the Soviet Union, those atrocities were organized and carried out by the Armenian security forces in 1988- 1989 in a way that they happened almost unknown to the international community, well before the outbreak of Armenian-Azerbaijani armed conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. 250.000 Azerbaijanis, last on the territory of former Soviet Armenia, were forcibly deported to Azerbaijan, 218 Azerbaijani families were killed during the deportation.
The Armenians armed forces together with militant nationalists perpetrated unprecedented atrocities during the war between two countries in and around Nagorno Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. The single-night slaughter in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly in February 1992 claimed the lives of 613 innocent Azerbaijani civilians and this was the largest massacre during the whole conflict. Today, as a result of the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan nearly one million Azerbaijani IDP's and refugees, continue to suffer the bitter consequences of the war. This aggression, which resulted in the occupation of 20% of Azerbaijani territories, and inflicted great damage on Azerbaijan, undermined the development and prosperity of the whole South Caucasus.
Armenia has made a "great" progress in propagating their version of history, persistently seeking from foreign governments and parliaments an official recognition of their status as a "victim of genocide" in order to extend its territorial claims to other neighbouring states. But the trends of history are unmistakable, and today more and more countries witness that it was Armenia who brought the policy of armed aggression, ethnic cleansing, and genocide into the new century."
The statement of the Embassy was disseminated amongst the foreign diplomatic representations in Belgium and institutes of the European Union in Brussels.