By Vafa Ismayilova
The leaders of the religious confessions in Azerbaijan have urged the international recognition as genocide the mass killing of Azerbaijanis by Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement of Khojaly in 1992, local news sources reported on February 23.
In their address, the religious leaders called on the world's religious leaders, parliaments, the UN and other international organizations, international courts to give a political and legal assessment of the aggression and vandalism committed by Armenia against the Azerbaijani people and to recognize the Khojaly tragedy as a crime against humanity and genocide along with the Holocaust, Rwanda and Srebrenica.
"As the leaders of religious communities, who live in peace and prosperity in Azerbaijan for centuries, we support the establishment of mutual understanding among all South Caucasus nations, regardless of their linguistic and religious affiliation. We must put an end to wars, territorial claims, hatred, religious and ethnic discrimination, and make efforts towards stable economic development. All religious communities in our region, and in particular, the Armenian Apostolic Church, should be active in this direction, promote dialogue, ideas of peace and humanism," the address noted.
The appeal was signed by Chairman of the Caucasus Muslims Office (CMO) Allahshukur Pashazade, Archbishop of the Baku and Azerbaijan Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Alexander, head of the Azerbaijani community of Mountain Jews Milikh Yevdayev, chairman of the Albanian-Udi Christian religious community Robert Mobili and head of the community of European Jews in Azerbaijan Alexander Sharovsky.
The genocide was committed on the night of February 25 to 26 in Khojaly by units of the Armenian armed forces, Armenian terrorist groups in Nagorno-Karabakh and personnel of the former Soviet army's 366th motorized rifle regiment deployed in Khankandi, Azerbaijan.
A total of 613 peaceful Azerbaijanis were killed, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 elderly people. At the same time, 487 civilians were seriously injured and 1,275 people were taken hostage. he fate of 150 hostages, including 68 women and 26 children, is still unknown. During the genocide, 56 people were killed with special cruelty, people's heads were peeled off, various limbs were cut off, their eyes were removed, and pregnant women's bellies were pierced with bayonets. As a result, eight families were completely destroyed, 25 children lost both parents and 130 children lost one parent.
Relevant documents adopted by the parliaments of Mexico, Pakistan, the Czech Republic, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Sudan, Guatemala and Djibouti recognized the Khojaly massacre as an act of genocide. The parliaments of Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Jordan, Slovenia, Scotland and Paraguay, as well as the executive and legislative bodies of 22 U.S. states have strongly condemned the Khojaly tragedy as a massacre. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation recognized Armenia as an aggressor and the Khojaly tragedy as genocide.
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