UN circulates statement urging recognition of Azerbaijan's Khojaly genocide

Politics Materials 17 February 2023 19:20 (UTC +04:00)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, February 17. The statement of the “Khojaly: Recognize to Reconcile” International Coalition has been circulated as a document of the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, which will commence its work on February 27, 2023, Trend reports.

The statement reads as follows:

  • Justice and Peace go hand in hand, it is a momentum to address the conflict related traumas, effects of war crimes and mass violations of international law perpetrated in the past with the aim to lay a solid ground for peace to come.
  • It is also important since this year marks the 30th tragic anniversary of massacre in Khojaly, once a town with more than 6000 strong Azerbaijani population. On the night of February 26, 1992, the Armenian armed forces seized the town and brutally murdered 613 innocent civilians, including 63 children, 106 women, and 70 elderlies, as well as severely injured 487 persons.
  • In its judgment of April 22, 2010, the European Court of Human Rights arrived at an important conclusion with respect to the crimes committed in Khojaly, denouncing the behavior of those carrying out the atrocities as “acts of particular gravity which may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity”. National legislative bodies of 17 countries as well as several international organizations characterize the massacre of civilians in Khojaly as a crime against humanity and an act of genocide.
  • It is regrettable that the democratization process in Armenia and rejection of the legacy of the “corrupt previous administration” has not affected the issue of Khojaly – the crime which the country’s same former leaders have been directly involved in and thus are directly responsible for.
  • As leaders both in Armenia and Azerbaijan have recently announced their willingness “to turn the page” and start “era of peace in the region”, it is time for strong international mediation, first on civil society level, to end the impunity and silence, render justice for Khojaly but also to help communities in both countries to overcome the shadow of the tragedy through recognition, dialogue, and ultimate reconciliation.

In this regard, the objectives of the “Khojaly: Recognize to Reconcile” coalition are:

  • To facilitate direct dialogue between Azerbaijanis and Armenians, aimed at overcoming memories of conflict and jointly finding ways for reconciliation and sustainable peace;
  • Thus, encouraging Armenia to properly recognize Khojaly massacre and offer a public apology to its victims; and encouraging Azerbaijan for opening up public space for direct dialogue on the issue at hands between the civil societies of the two countries – would be an important cornerstone for reconciliation efforts;
  • The mere recognition of wrong doings of the past is of critical value for the peace to come. The denial of a crime leads to its rationalization and thus “normality” in public perception.

The coalition was created by a number of human rights organizations from Italy, France, Hungary and Denmark. It also includes such well-known public figures in the field of human rights protection as the president of the "Mothers of Srebrenica Association" and the former OSCE Rapporteur on Religious Minorities. The coalition was established during the Italian Senate Conference on transitional justice in March 2022.

The coalition announced its intention to facilitate the dialogue between the Azerbaijani and Armenian civil society, aimed at overcoming the collective psychological trauma of the conflict past.