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AZERBAIJANI DIPLOMAT REPLIES TO STATEMENT BY ARMENIAN FM DELIVERED AT HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT OF UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva Yalchin Rafiyev has used the right of reply in response to the statement by Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian delivered at the High-Level Segment of the UN Human Rights Council.

Yalchin Rafiyev said: “Since the beginning of the High-Level Segment we have been listening to the statements of high-level dignitaries enthusiastically talking about their achievements in the protection of human rights in their own countries. However, the head of Armenian delegation devoted his bulk of speech to Azerbaijan. Proceeding from this one can assume that minister did not have anything worthwhile to share with the Council in the field of promotion and protection of human rights in Armenia. Instead, he has dedicated his statement on denying the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence on the ground, rejected the responsibility of crimes against humanity committed in Khojaly district of Azerbaijan and attacked my country with ungrounded accusations about tragic events happened prior to the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The documentary evidence — and there is a mountain of it — proves that Armenia unleashed the war; attacked Azerbaijan and occupied its territories, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven adjacent districts; carried out ethnic cleansing on a massive scale; and established the ethnically constructed subordinate separatist entity on the captured Azerbaijani territory. The most serious international crimes have been committed in the course of the war.

Yesterday Armenian minister referred to Khojaly, a small town located in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan which is under the occupation of Armenia since more than quarter of a century. Let me inform you what happened in Khojaly in 1992. On the night of 26 February the civilian population of the town faced the most brutal atrocities and war crimes of history committed by Armenia as a result of which 613 people were killed, including women, children and elderly. The incumbent president of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan was the person leading all these crimes against humanity. In his interview to famous journalist Thomas de Waal in 2003, president Sargsyan described the Khojaly genocide as follows: “Before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that Armenians were people who could not raise their hands against the civilian population. We were able to break that stereotype”. With these sentences he perfectly described the state of naïve trust and hope of the Azerbaijani party to the conflict which inadvertently fell victim to misguidance.

Armenian minister also raised the issue of access by UN institutions to assess the human rights situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, I would like to remind Armenian minister that the people whose rights have been gravely violated are not living in Nagorno-Karabakh due to ethnic cleansing policy of Armenia. They all are residing in other cities of Azerbaijan as IDPs. If any UN institution would like to assess their situation they can visit IDP camps in Azerbaijan.

As for the tragic events happened prior to the independence of Azerbaijan, we would like to inform the distinguished colleagues that, the results of the prosecution and investigation conducted by Central Soviet authorities revealed that the main perpetrators of those events were ethnic Armenians, Eduard Grigoryan and Zhirayr Azizbekian and their fellow compatriots who were orchestrated by Soviet intelligence services. This had been acknowledged by the incumbent President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan in his speech in March 30, 2005, during Parliamentary hearings in Armenia: “There are grounds for a judgment that the mass pogroms and killings of peaceful Armenian population in Sumgait ... were exercised with the knowledge of Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in Moscow”.

The international community continues to observe the gross violations of the rights of more than 1 million Azerbaijani IDPs and refugees with silence. That is why we will conclude our remarks with appeal to the world community by referring to a famous quote: “Once you see it, you cannot unsee it, and once you have seen it, staying quiet, saying nothing is as much political an act as speaking out”. We call on all states to speak out on the restoration of the violated human rights of Azerbaijani IDPs and refugees.”

BAKU. 02.03.2018. AzerTAg.


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