Azerbaijani community called on British MPs to recognize the Khojaly genocide
- 23 February 2021
On the eve of the 29th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide, the Azerbaijani community in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland addressed members of the British Parliament, the State Committee for Work with Diaspora told APA.
"Dear Member of Parliament, On 26 February 2021 Azerbaijanis across the globe commemorate one of the darkest pages, a sorrowful wound, a national trauma, the culmination of the 1st Karabakh war - the Khojaly genocide of 1992. It is one of the gravest crimes against humanity and one of the grand massacres of the XXth century like Srebrenica and Songmi. The Khojaly genocide public awareness campaign is our way to find justice for atrocities committed by Armenian Armed Forces against non-militant population, including elderly and toddlers. In light of the increased bias, one-sided coverage of the Second Karabakh War singling out the Azerbaijani voices and the current trends of rising islamophobia in Europe, we, British Azerbaijanis, feel being let down more than ever before by the negligence of the international community. Khojaly is a town in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan, which was home to a population of 7,000 before the conflict. Harbouring the only airport in the area, Khojaly was a strategically important center of communication. On the night of February 25-26, 1992 Khojaly suffered massive artillery bombardment from the positions occupied by the Armenian armed forces. Soon after the intensive shelling, the Armenian Armed Forces, including the guerilla and terrorist groups, supported by the armoured vehicles and troops of 366th Motorized Infantry Regiment of Russian Army, seized the town. The atrocities started on the streets of the city and several thousands of civilian residents fled the town in the dark under heavy conditions of frosty weather with hope to find refuge in nearby forests and mountains, only to be eventually trapped and ambushed by Armenian forces and militia. As a result of the massacre, 613 civilians perished, including 106 women and 63 children. 1,275 Khojaly residents were taken hostage, while 150 people to this day remain unaccounted for. In the course of the massacre, 487 inhabitants of Khojaly were severely dismembered, including 76 children. 6 families were completely wiped out, 26 children lost both parents and 130 children lost one of their parents. 56 of those who were murdered with particular cruelty: most were slaughtered, some were burned alive, beheaded, some were mutilated, and others were scalped. We urge the international community to condemn and make the Khojaly Genocide executors accountable for commited atrocities. We urge the international community not to stay silent. On behalf of the British Azerbaijani community, we urge you to: - read our statement from the British-Azerbaijani community in the House of Commons; - proclaim 26 February as Khojaly Remembrance Day; - sign a resolution condemning the Khojaly genocide; - enquire a full trial of the Khojaly genocide executors at the International Tribunal in The Hague. We enclose further information materials on Khojaly chronicles and reports including the ones from international organisations and government states. As Azerbaijanis of Britain, we would encourage and appreciate more active involvement of the British parliamentarians in the matters of our community, which so far had little exposure in daily politics of Britain. Our community members are a law obeying tax payers, hardworking contributors and professionals in different fields. A number of our members are at the front line of NHS and Social Services, combatting the pandemic. We hope that you as my local MP could take with all seriousness the matter of paramount importance to a collective memory of my community," the appeal reads.