WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Twenty one years ago on this date the people of Azerbaijan witnessed what the Human Rights Watch later called the "largest massacre to date in the conflict" between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenian soldiers backed by the 366th motorized infantry regiment of the former Soviet Army attacked the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly brutally murdering over 600 civilians, including women and children. Hundreds more were wounded; some are still missing.
As the Western media documented details of the gruesome massacre such as scalping and other forms of mutilation, the Armenian soldiers institutionalized the pattern of extermination and ethnic cleansing of the Azerbaijani civilian population. That pattern has since become an integral part of the Armenian policy in the region. The continuous illegal occupation of Azerbaijan's internationally-recognized territory, the lingering displacement of a million Azerbaijani civilians and Armenia's own handicapped development are among the consequences of the narrowly defined ethno-centric approach dominant in Armenia.
Recognition of the Khojaly massacre as a crime against humanity is a debt owed to the memory of those perished and a necessity for building long-term peace for the Azerbaijanis and Armenians alike.
Just as Azerbaijani-Americans and friends of Azerbaijan lead commemorations throughout the United States, both legislative houses of the states of Arkansas and New Mexico adopted resolutions honoring the victims of Khojaly.
SOURCE The Embassy of Azerbaijan to the United States