by the Commissioner for Human Rights


of the Republic of Azerbaijan concerning the 32nd

anniversary of the tragedy of January 20

32 years have passed since the January 20 events, which entered as a
heroic page to the history of the struggle for independence of Azerbaijan.

The January 20 events did not break the will and determination of the
Azerbaijani people, on the contrary, those events united our people more closely
for freedom and brought them closer to the path to independence.

From the late 1980s, Armenia pursued a policy of hatred, ethnic cleansing
and genocide against Azerbaijanis, as well as asserted unlawful territorial claims
against Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijani people were outraged by the aggressive actions of Armenia
and the support of the USSR leadership and therefore, expressed their strong
protest. The deployment of troops against the civilian population in order to
break the will of the Azerbaijani people led to massacres in Baku and Sumgayit
cities, as well as in other cities and districts of the country. As a result of this crime
against humanity, 150 civilians, including children, women and elderly were
brutally killed, 744 people were wounded, and 841 persons were unlawfully

On January 21, 1990, despite all the pressures and hardships,
demonstrating a political will, the National Leader Heydar Aliyev made a harsh
statement related to this crime committed by the USSR leadership.

The political-legal assessment of this bloody tragedy has been realized
through the return of the National Leader Heydar Aliyev to power. Thus, in 1994,
at the special session of the Milli Mejlis, the decision “On the tragic events of
January 20, 1990 in Baku” was adopted. It should be noted that social protection
system for the families of the martyrs of January 20 and persons with disabilities

in connection with these events was created by the President of the Republic of
Azerbaijan, Mr. IlhamAliyev.

According to international law, the events that occurred on 20 January shall
be interpreted as a crime against humanity, and the military personnel who
ordered to commit this massacre and its perpetrators shall be held criminally
liable. The acts of murder; enforced disappearance; persecution on the political,
national, ethnic, cultural or gender grounds; torture and other inhumane acts
intentionally causing great suffering or serious injury to body or to mental or
physical health that were committed against the civilian population during those
events shall be interpreted as crimes against humanity under the Article 7 of the
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Azerbaijan has faced severe trials throughout history, bloody crimes,
terrorist acts and genocides have been committed against our people at certain
stages of history. More than 23,000 Azerbaijanis have died, 50,000 have been
injured or became disabled, and about 4,000 citizens of Azerbaijan are still
reported as missing as a result of military aggression over the past 30 years.

In 2020, a counter-offensive operation was launched in order to prevent
another military aggression against our country and to ensure the security of the
civilian population. Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia for nearly 30 years
were liberated in a short time, and the violated rights of our compatriots were

As a result of the war crimes committed by Armenia against Azerbaijan
during these military operations, nearly 100 civilians, including more than 10
children were killed, more than 450 people were wounded, 12,000 civilian
objects, including more than 3,410 houses, 120 multi-floored apartments, 512
civilian infrastructure, including apartment buildings and numerous schools,
hospitals, and kindergartens, as well as our historic, religious, and cultural
monuments were destroyed or severely damaged.

Given that there are sufficient legal grounds to interpret the January 20
tragedy as a crime against humanity and to punish its perpetrators, no legal
assessment has been made so far.

We call on the world community and international organizations to
cooperate in order to bring the perpetrators of the January 20 events to justice
and give an international legal assessment to this bloody act.

Sabina Aliyeva

The Commissioner for Human Rights


of the Republic of Azerbaijan

19 January 2022

This Statement is addressed to the UN Secretary-General, UN Security Council, UN Office
of High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Office of High Commissioner for Refugees, UN
Human Rights Council, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization, European Union, Council of Europe, Organization for
Security and Co-operation in Europe, International and European Ombudsman Institutions,
Asian Ombudsman Association, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Ombudsman
Association of its member states, Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation, European Network of Ombudspersons for Children,
International Peace Bureau, foreign ombudsmen and national human rights institutions,
embassies of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the foreign embassies in Azerbaijan, as well as to
the Azerbaijani Diasporas.


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