ALFORTVILLE, FRANCE – The Social Democrat Hunchakian Party’s Nazarpek Youth Movement hosted a forum on Feb. 27 at the Hunchakian Armenian Youth Center in Alfortville, France, to commemorate the Sumgait pogrom, which took place on Feb 27 – 29 prior to the Artsakh war of independence in 1988.

The forum began with a moment of silence, initiated by Nazarpek Youth Movement member and moderator of the evening, Mr. Sevag Sarikaya. In his opening remarks, Mr. Sarikaya, expressed that the Sumgait pogrom awoke the dark memory of the Armenian genocide amongst Armenians throughout the world.

The program began with the screening of the documentary “Soumgait, un crime impuni,” a documentary on the Sumgait pogrom perpetrated by the authorities of Azerbaijan against the Armenian minority of the country, in the context of the fall of the Soviet Union. The documentary showed the horrors of the pogrom, and the entailing start of a war for the independence of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Following the documentary, the keynote speaker Mr. Hovannes Guevorkian, Representative of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh to France, presented the day to day social situation in the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan before and after the massacres. Mr. Guevorkian also read excerpt testimonials from former French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Bernard Kouchner’s “La Tragédie de Soumgait,” confirming the fact the massacres were intentional and methodical.

During the question and answer session of the forum, Mr. Guevorkian addressed the stagnation and slow progress of the peace process which is in the best interest of the Aliyev authoritarian government and his family; the dangers of conflict along the border; the number of victims due to the recent escalation of the conflict by the Azeri side; and the economic growth in spite of the conflict within the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

At the end of event, SDHP France Executive Committee Chairman Mr. Kevork Satchlian reminded the audience of the OSCE Minsk Group’s mission and the importance of reinstating the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to the negotiating table as a full participant.

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