Azerbaijani Society of America said on March 29 New Jersey’s General Assembly issued a document marking the 97th anniversary of the genocide of Azerbaijanis.
The resolution, introduced by NJ Assemblywoman Sheila Y. Oliver was signed by the Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto with the official copy presented to ASA leadership.
New York became the first state outside of Azerbaijan to legislatively acknowledge Azerbaijanis Genocide as a historical fact, when NY State Senate adopted Resolution J3784 in 2012, also through ASA Pax Turcica powered awareness efforts.
New Jersey issued a similar legislative recognition in 2013. Azerbaijani Genocide has also been recognized by individual official proclamations in the states of Texas and Nevada.
The U.S. state of Nevada has twice issued a proclamation – in 2009 and 2011- on observing March 31 as a Day of Remembrance, honoring the victims resulting from the fighting that began in March 1918.
In March 1918, armed groups of the Armenian Dashnak party in concert with Soviet Bolsheviks massacred about 20,000 innocent Azerbaijanis and people of other Muslim nations in Baku and other cities of Azerbaijan. The killings were part of the massacres committed by the Armenian nationalists who sought to create a great state in the Caucasus and Anatolia. During the massacres one million Azerbaijanis and over 2.5 million Turks, Kurds and other Muslims were subjected to genocide or expelled from their native lands.
Special Investigation Commission set up by the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic on July 15, 1918 collected a great number of documents and submitted them to the government. In 1919, the Azerbaijani parliament made a decision on marking March 31 as the day of Azerbaijanis’ genocide.
Though this date was essentially forgotten during the Soviet times, relevant investigations on the tragedy were carried out and books were published after Azerbaijan gained independence from the USSR in 1991.
President Heydar Aliyev issued a decree on March 26, 1998 to commemorate March 31 as the Day of Azerbaijanis’ Genocide. Since then, every year Azerbaijanis living in countries around the world mark March 31 as the Day of Genocide.