By Rashid Shirinov
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has issued a statement commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide, committed by Armenian militaries against the civilian population of Azerbaijan in February 1992.
“On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the commemoration of the massacre in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly, the Secretary General of the OIC, Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen, has paid tribute to all those who lost their lives in the 1992 atrocity,” the statement says.
The OIC Secretary General reiterated that the Khojaly tragedy was a result of the illegal occupation of Azerbaijani territory by neighboring Armenia. He referred to the resolutions adopted by previous sessions of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, which considered the actions perpetrated against civilian Azerbaijani population in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, as crimes against humanity.
Khojaly, the second largest town in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, came under intense fire from the towns of Khankendi and Askeran already occupied by the Armenian armed forces in 1992.
613 civilians mostly women and children were killed in the massacre, and a total of 1,000 people were disabled. Eight families were exterminated, 25 children lost both parents, and 130 children lost one parent. Moreover, 1,275 innocent people were taken hostage, and the fate of 150 of them remains unknown.
The Secretary General also reiterated the OIC’s full support for the initiatives and efforts of Azerbaijan to put an end to the occupation of its territories and to restore its territorial integrity.
The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway territory of Azerbaijan, has continued for about 30 years, following the Armenia’s territorial claims against Azerbaijan in 1988.
The military conflict, characterized by violence against civilians and ethnic cleansing, resulted in the injury, death, and disappearance of thousands of people, ended with occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding regions.
While the OSCE Minsk Group acts as the only mediator in resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it failed to make any move to achieve a breakthrough in the peace process so far.