Armenian occupation was devastating to the survival of our families. More than twelve thousand people fell victim to the occupation,’ Speaker of Azerbaijan's Milli Majlis Sahiba Gafarova said in her speech at the V Budapest Demographic Forum earlier today, APA reports.
According to Madam Speaker, the genocide that Armenia committed in the Azerbaijani town of Khojali in February 1992 destroyed whole families. More than one hundred and fifty children lost one or both parents. As many as six hundred and thirteen civilians were killed. Furthermore, the ethnic cleansing carried out by Armenia forced a million Azerbaijanis – more than two hundred and thirty thousand families – out of their homes. They were internally displaced from the captured territories in Garabagh and were refugees from Armenia. Left homeless, unemployed and without any means of livelihood, those million people came on as a grave social and economic burden to the young independent state. However, the Government shouldered and carried that weight and did everything to meet the needs of the refugee families and IDP.
The leader of the Milli Majlis said then that Azerbaijan resorted to its right of self-defence subject to Article 51 of the UN Charter and went ahead to carry into life the resolutions of the UN Security Council as well as international law standards and principles back in 2020. That was how the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan was restored. In this context, Sahiba Gafarova thanked our partners and friends, first and foremost Hungary, for the constant attention to stabilisation and rapprochement in the South Caucasus – the attention based on international law.
Sahiba Gafarova mentioned that our lands had been liberated at the cost of the lives of 3,000 young men and said, ‘Simply imagine how many families lost sons and future generations!’
‘The liberation of our territories is a triumph of historical justice. But it is also a victory of the moral and family values of our young generation who had had to leave their homes as young children thirty years ago and then returned to reclaim their ancestral lands.’
The strong political will of our Government led by His Excellency President Ilham Aliyev and the resolve of our nation are continuing the large-scale restoration and building operations in the freed lands today. Armenia had destroyed almost all the towns and village and had vandalised the whole historical, cultural and cult heritage of Azerbaijan in those provinces during their captivity. Eight towns and hundreds are villages are being built anew now; and so are roads, bridges, power plants, schools, hospitals and houses. The former IDP families have begun to return to their houses. More than thirty thousand families will make a come-back within the next three years in line with the First Grand Return to the Liberated Territories of Azerbaijan Programme. Social aid is the key element of the Grand Return Programme. This is central also to the agenda of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.