By Vafa Ismayilova
February 26 has been declared as Commemoration Day for the 1992 Khojaly genocide victims in different parts of the U.S., local news sources have reported.
The Khojaly massacre, also known as the Khojaly tragedy, was the mass murder of ethnic Azerbaijani civilians by the Armenian armed forces and the 366th CIS regiment in the town of Khojaly in Nagorno-Karabakh on 26 February 1992 during the First Karabakh War.
Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen in the U.S. State of Illinois signed a declaration on the 29th anniversary of the Khojaly Genocide, Trend reported on February 18, quoting the document.
The declaration addressed to members of the Azerbaijan Center of Midwest America and the Azerbaijani community of Illinois said as part of Armenia's armed aggression against Azerbaijan since 1988 and its ethnic cleansing policy against Azerbaijanis, Armenia's armed units, supported by the former Soviet 366th motorized rifle regiment, committed genocide in Khojaly town and massacred the residents of this town on the night of February 25-26, 1992, attempting to flee the occupied town. As a result, the Armenian military servicemen killed 613 people, including 106 women, 63 children, and 70 elderly. Some experts call the Khojaly tragedy "‘Azerbaijani Srebrenitsa".
The document emphasized that in 1993 the UN Security Council adopted Resolutions 822, 853, 874, and 884, which demanded the prompt and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from Azerbaijan's occupied territories, and stressed support for the country’s territorial integrity by the UN General Assembly, the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the OSCE, as well as the U.S. State Department and the White House.
The declaration concluded that given all the above facts, Skokie’s Mayor George Van Dusen proclaimed February 26, 2021, as Commemoration Day of the Khojaly Genocide Victims.
Meanwhile, Day.az reported that Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy F. Cooper in (Florida, U.S.) signed a declaration in connection with the Khojaly genocide
Under the declaration, the memory of the victims of the genocide will be honoured on the 29th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide, the State Committee for Work with Diaspora was quoted as saying.
The adoption of such a declaration became possible thanks to the efforts of the Azerbaijani community of Florida, in particular, the Azerbaijani-American Cultural Association of Florida. The increase in the number of states that have recognized the Khojaly genocide in the United States of America this year is considered a success for the Azerbaijani diaspora, the report added.
On February 18, the State Committee for Work with Diaspora reported on its website that Portland mayor in the State of Maine Kathleen M. Snyder signed a declaration to commemorate the genocide victims on February 26. The statement, which provided detailed information about the tragedy said that the tragedy was one of the greatest massacres against humanity.
It should be noted that the statement was signed on the initiative of the head of the Maine Azerbaijan Society Tarlan Ahmadov.
"The governor of Minnesota and the mayor of Aventura, Florida, made similar statements on February 12, 2021. The adoption of such a statement in the state of Maine can be considered as a great success of American Azerbaijanis on the eve of the next anniversary of the Khojaly genocide," the committee said.
Over 24 U.S. states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada, New York. Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have recognized and condemned the Khojaly genocide.
Ethnic Azerbaijani officials in Ukraine have made an appeal to the Ukrainian foreign minister and parliament speaker urging the recognition of the genocide, Trend reported, quoting the State Committee for Work with Diaspora.
The authors of the appeal emphasized that the nature and scale of crimes against Khojaly residents clearly fall under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution 260 dated December 9, 1948, where the legal grounds for recognizing genocide are enshrined.
The Azerbaijani parliament appealed to the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the PACE and other international organizations with a request to recognize the crimes committed by Armenian chauvinists and separatists as genocide of Azerbaijanis, read the appeal.
To date, the legislative bodies of many countries, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, have adopted parliamentary acts on the recognition of the Khojaly genocide, the document said.
Taking this into account, the authors of the appeal asked that the resolution on condemning the events of February 26, 1992, in Khojaly city of Azerbaijan and recognizing these events as genocide of the Azerbaijani population be put to a vote at the plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
The Estonia-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Group expressed its condolences to the Azerbaijani nation on the 29th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide, Trend reports citing the statement of the Group.
“We share the pain of the Azerbaijani people about the Khojaly massacre, which meant the massacre of over 600 innocent civilians, including many children, women, and the elderly,” the statement said.
The group condemned the Armenian inhumane crimes against Azerbaijani civilians on the night of February 25 to 26 and urged that perpetrators be brought to book. It expressed support for Azerbaijan's efforts towards lasting peace, integration and progress of liberated territories.
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