Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan on 31 March – Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis

31 March 2024


31 March - Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis, is a day of commemoration of our innocent compatriots, who became victims of racial discrimination and intolerance by radical Armenian groups, and were subjected to systematic ethnic cleansing and genocide.

In March-April 1918, using all available means for ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijanis from their ancestral territories throughout history, radical Armenians committed savage atrocities against our compatriots. Tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis living in Baku, Shamakhi, Guba, Garabagh, Zangazur, Nakhchivan, Lankaran, and other regions were brutally murdered, and numerous settlements, religious and cultural monuments were destroyed. As a result of massacres, more than 16,000 people were brutally killed and 167 villages were razed in Guba alone.

Massive atrocities committed against civilians, mass graves of the victims of the massacre found in Guba region in 2007, confession of Stephan Shaumyan, Extraordinary Commissioner of the Caucasus, an ethnic Armenian, that 6,000 armed soldiers of the Baku Soviet and 4,000 armed soldiers of the Dashnaksutyun Party took part in the massacres, razed settlements, and cultural monuments revealed the exact nature of the massacres.

Following the foundation of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR), the Extraordinary Investigation Commission was established to investigate the March events and to bring criminals to justice. Based on the evidence revealed by the Commission, criminal proceedings were filed against 194 persons accused of crimes committed, 24 persons were arrested in Baku and about 100 in Shamakhi. However, the collapse of the ADR interrupted the process of conducting an in-depth investigation into the events occurred, as well as the political and legal assessment of the March massacres.

Only after the restoration of our independence, March events were given an adequate political assessment with the Decree of the National Leader Heydar Aliyev “On the Genocide of Azerbaijanis” dated March 26, 1998, and 31 March was declared “Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis.”

Mass deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia, ethnic cleansing and genocide crimes committed during the military aggression and occupation of this country against Azerbaijan, war crimes against civilians living far from the territories where military operations were conducted during the 44-day Patriotic War demonstrated that the policy of systematic ethnic hatred and intolerance towards Azerbaijanis is still in place.

Learning from history, preventing the recurrence of such horrible events, and putting an end to impunity of criminals are critical for seizing the opportunities emerged for peace in the region at the current post-conflict period. In this sense, preventing the rise of revanchism in Armenia significantly depends on the international community, along with the leadership of this country.

On 31 March - Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis, we commemorate with deep grief and respect the memory of innocent Azerbaijanis who were subjected to ethnic hatred and genocide.

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