21St Anniversary of the Tragedy in Khojaly, Azerbaijanby Representative Bill Shuster
Posted on 2013-02-05
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, as the Co-Chairman of the House Azerbaijan
Caucus, I rise today to bring attention to the tragedy that
took place in Khojaly, Azerbaijan, a town and townspeople that were
destroyed on February 26, 1992.
This month we will mark the 21st anniversary of that devastating and heartbreaking day. Sadly, today there is little attention or interest paid to the plight of Khojaly outside of Azerbaijan. However, one of our greatest strengths as elected officials is the opportunity to bring to light truths that are little known and command recognition. As a friend of Azerbaijan, I am proud to remind my colleagues that we must never forget the tragedy that took place at Khojaly.
At the time, the Khojaly tragedy was widely documented by the international media, including the Boston Globe, Washington Post, New York Times, Financial Times, and many other European and Russian news agencies.
Khojaly, a town in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, now under the control of Armenian forces, was the site of the largest killing of ethnic Azerbaijani civilians. With a population of approximately 7,000, Khojaly was one of the largest urban settlements of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.
According to Human Rights Watch and other international observers the massacre was committed by the ethnic Armenian armed forces, reportedly with the help of the Russian 366th Motor Rifle Regiment. Human Rights Watch described the Khojaly Massacre as ``the largest massacre to date in the conflict'' over Nagorna-Karabakh. In a 1993 report, the watchdog group stated ``there are no exact figures for the number of Azeri civilians killed because Karabakh Armenian forces gained control of the area after the massacre'' and ``while it is widely accepted that 200 Azeris were murdered, as many as 500-1,000 may have died.'' Azerbaijan has been a strong strategic partner and friend of the United States. The tragedy of Khojaly was a crime against humanity and I urge my colleagues to join me in standing with Azerbaijanis as they commemorate this tragedy.