Commemorating the 21St Anniversary of the Khojaly Massacreby Representative Steve Cohen
Posted on 2013-02-06
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the 21st
anniversary of the Khojaly massacre perpetrated by Armenian armed
forces on February 25-26, 1992 in the town of Khojaly in the Nagorno-
Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Khojaly, now under the occupation of
Armenian armed forces, was the site of the largest killing of ethnic
Azerbaijani civilians in the course of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.
Khojaly, once the home to 7,000 people, was completely destroyed. Six hundred thirteen people were killed, of which 106 were women, 83 were children and 56 were purported to have been killed with extreme cruelty and torture. In addition, 1,275 people were taken hostage, 150 went missing and 487 people became disabled. Also in the records maintained, 76 of the victims were teenagers, 8 families were wiped out and 25 children lost both of their parents while 130 lost one of their parents. According to Human Rights Watch and other international observers, the Armenian Armed forces were reportedly aided by the Russian 366th Motor Rifle Regiment.
At the time, Newsweek magazine reported: ``Azerbaijan was a charnel house again last week: a place of mourning refugees and dozens of mangled corpses dragged to a makeshift morgue behind the mosque. They were ordinary Azerbaijani men, women and children of Khojaly, a small village in war-torn Nagorno-Karabakh overrun by Armenian forces on 25- 26 February. Many were killed at close range while trying to flee; some had their faces mutilated, others were scalped.'' As part of the Khojaly population that tried to escape, they encountered violent ambushes that led to abuses, torture, mutilation and death. The Russian organization, Memorial, stated that 200 Azerbaijani corpses were brought from Khojaly to Agdam within four days.
Time magazine published the following description: ``While the details are argued, this much is plain: something grim and unconscionable happened in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly 2 weeks ago. So far, some 200 dead Azerbaijanis, many of them mutilated, have been transported out of the town tucked inside the Armenian-dominated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh for burial in neighboring Azerbaijan. The total number of deaths--the Azerbaijanis claim 1,324 civilians have been slaughtered, most of them women and children--is unknown.'' The extent of the cruelty of this massacre against women, children and the elderly was unfathomable. This anniversary reminds us of the need to redouble efforts to help resolve the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. The United States as a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group should intensify its efforts to reach a resolution of this protracted conflict.
Mr. Speaker, Azerbaijan is a strong ally of the United States in a strategically important and complex region of the world. I ask my colleagues to join me and our Azerbaijani friends in commemorating the tragedy that occurred in the town of Khojaly.