President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin presents the “Pushkin” Medal to Leyla Aliyeva
On February 27, a remembrance ceremony was held in connection with the 22nd anniversary of the Khojaly genocide at “AZIMUT Moscow Olympic” Hotel of Moscow.
Vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, head of the Russian Representative Office of the Foundation, the initiator of the “Justice for Khojaly!” campaign Leyla Aliyeva attended the event.
An art exhibition on the theme of “Children and War” organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation was demonstrated in the foyer of the hotel. The pictures were painted by inhabitants of children’s homes.
Leyla Aliyeva delivered a speech at the event:
- Today, within the framework of the international campaign “Justice for Khojaly!”, we have gathered here to remember the memory of the Khojaly genocide victims. This campaign was initiated 5 years ago in Moscow. The main goal of the campaign is to deliver the information about the tragedy, which was committed 22 years ago in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly, to the world community. For already 5 years, in these days of February, representatives of different nations, religions and cultures in over 70 countries of the world are demanding justice for Khojaly tragedy’s victims.
On the night from the 25th to the 26th of February 1992, Armenian aggressors occupied the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly and, as a result, 613 civilians, including 63 children and 70 elderly were mercilessly killed, and over a thousand people were crippled. This tragedy is one of the most tragic and bloody pages of the Azerbaijani history. Of course, whatever we do today, we cannot return these innocent people to life, or mitigate the grief of people that have lost their beloved ones, or heal the wound in every Azerbaijani’s heart. However, within the framework of the “Justice for Khojaly!” campaign, we have done a great deal of work and made good progress. I would like to talk to you about the main projects implemented during these 5 years, and its achievements. Over the 5 years past, conferences and exhibitions have been held each year in connection with the Khojaly tragedy. The website of the campaign is in five languages. Today, the “Justice for Khojaly!” campaign’s calls may be heard from the rostrums of the UN, the European Parliament, and the Islamic Cooperation Organization, as well as at universities, youth clubs, mosques, churches and synagogues all over the world. This call (ICO) did not remain unheard. As a result of the campaign, parliaments of 6 countries and 14 states of the USA recognized the Khojaly tragedy as an act of genocide. A few days earlier, parliaments of 53 countries – members of ICO – have acknowledged, by a special decree, that genocide was committed in Khojaly. Earlier, heads of 57 states had passed similar documents. Monuments were erected to Khojaly victims in Ankara, Sarajevo, Hague and Mexico cities. On July 9 the last year - the national mourning day of Srebrenitsa victims - the “Justice for Khojaly” call was sounded on an illuminated monitor the whole day, in the centre of Sarajevo. Books are printed, booklets and information published and films made regularly about Khojaly. A hero of one of these films, helicopter pilot Leonid Kravets is with us today. I want to say him “thank you very much” for the courage shown in 1992 while rescuing civilians, and heroism that he showed talking all the truth about this tragedy.
Today, a new stage of our campaign starts. We are not satisfied with what we have reached so far, many projects and events are expecting us. I believe the number of countries recognising the Khojaly events as a genocide will increase year-by-year. And the world society would give a just assessment of this tragedy.
No killings, bloody massacre and genocides should be allowed in the 21st century. Today, Azerbaijan is a strong, secular and independent country amazing the whole world with its achievements in various spheres, with its dynamic development in the spheres of economy, sports, culture and science. Azerbaijan is a regional leader. Time has proved that Azerbaijani people’s spirit has not been broken. Azerbaijani people’s spirit may never be broken by anyone by any means whatsoever. I believe that Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity will be restored, all refugees and IDPs will return to their homes, native lands.
Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Russia Polad Bulbuloghlu thanked Leyla Aliyeva - the initiator of the “Justice for Khojaly!” campaign – and said a number of international organizations have adopted relevant resolutions due to this campaign, and the scale of global recognition of the military crimes committed in Khojaly has expanded.
President of All-Russian Azerbaijanis Congress Mammad Aliyev, Chairperson of the State Committee of Azerbaijan for Work with Religious Organizations Elshad Iskanderov, Vice-president of the Russian Jewish Religious Communities and Organizations Congress Zinovi Kogan, captain of the helicopter from which video films were made in 1992 of the tragedy scene Leonid Kravets delivered a speech at the ceremony.
At the end, the film “A Pilot Who Saw the Hell” was demonstrated and commemorative feast was given in memory of Khojaly victims.
The event was attended by representatives of the Russian society, politicians, employees of the diplomatic corps, the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Russia, representatives of the Russian Representative Office of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the All-Russian Azerbaijanis Congress, and the Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Russia.