25 years of Khojaly tragedy commemorated in Luxembourg
- 24 February 2017
The month of February is always filled with sorrow in Azerbaijan, and amongst those around the world who support the rule of law and the sanctity of human life. This is because, 25 years ago, that month saw the single worst atrocity of the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The Khojaly massacre took the lives of 613 civilians. The death toll included 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people.
The Khojaly commemoration concert at the well-known Le Royal hotel in Luxembourg on 23 February 2017, organised by the Benelux office of The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS), within the Justice for Khojaly campaign, commemorated the victims of the Khojaly massacre, which occurred on 26 February 1992.
Various classical and contemporary works by Azerbaijani, German, Russian and French composers were performed by the pianist Nezrin Efendiyeva, accompanied by Astrid Gallez (transverse flute) and Marie-Carmen Suarez (violin), TEAS told APA.
Speaking before the audience of 130 politicians, VIPs, students and press representatives, TEAS Benelux Director Marc Verwilghen explained: “TEAS is organising these events within the framework of the Justice for Khojaly campaign. This is an international awareness campaign initiated by Mrs Leyla Aliyeva, Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.”
“The Khojaly massacre was the worst single atrocity of the Armenia–Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and claimed the lives of 613 Azerbaijani civilian victims in 1992. The death toll included 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people. The Armenian perpetrators of this atrocity are well known and they have to be brought to justice. We believe that judicial action against these perpetrators is possible with success, even before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are still housed in camps across the country. In a nation of 9.7 million people, this amount is one of the highest levels of displacement per capita in the world”, Mr Verwighen said.
His Excellency Fuad Isgandarov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Luxembourg, Belgium and the EU, recalled that the Khojaly Massacre was a terrible atrocity that occurred in February 1992. He said: “Azerbaijan is very well known for its tolerance, rich cultural heritage and European values. I am glad to say that the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, thus making Azerbaijan the first Muslim-majority country ever to enfranchise women, introduced universal suffrage in Azerbaijan already in 1918. This is one of the numerous examples of the Azerbaijani pro-European orientation. The 613 victims from Khojaly were not only Azerbaijani, they were also European!”
Despite the passing of four UN Security Council resolutions against the invasion, Armenia continues to occupy Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions to this day. Currently nearly 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory remains occupied, and approximately one million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are spread across Azerbaijan. The evening was dedicated to the memory of the Khojaly victims and those Azerbaijanis who have only one wish – to return to their homes and lands.