23 years have passed since the occupation of Shusha city of the Republic of Azerbaijan by the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia.
Shusha - one of the unique cultural centers of Azerbaijan, the city with magnificent nature, ancient and rich history, unique tangible and intangible cultural heritage, as well as the city with essential economic, political, cultural and spiritual importance, the city that has played a significant role in the life of Azerbaijani nation was invaded by the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia on the night of May 8, 1992.
As a result of the acts of violence and ethnic cleansing carried out by the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia in the course of this occupation, 195 people were killed, 165 wounded, 150 of them became disabled, 58 people were taken hostage and more than 20 thousand people became internally displaced persons.
In order to remove the historical traces of Azerbaijani people from Shusha, the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia destroyed a great number of cultural and educational institutions in the city, including 7 pre-school facilities, 22 schools, cultural, agricultural and technical schools, 8 culture houses, 14 clubs, 31 libraries, 2 cinemas, 8 museums and the only factory of Eastern musical instruments in the Caucasus, as well as the historical-cultural monuments, such as the Palace of Panahali Khan, Juma Mosque, Ashagi Govhar Aga Mosque, House of Khurshud Banu Natavan, the mausoleum of Molla Panah Vagif. Moreover, more than 5 thousand items of History Museum, 1 thousand items of the Shusha branch of the State Museum of Azerbaijan Carpet and Applied Art and of the State Museum of Karabagh History, as well as 300 belongings of the Memorial Museum of founder of Azerbaijan modern professional music, composer Uzeyir Hajibayli, 400 belongings of the Memorial Museum of founder of Azerbaijan vocal music “Bulbul”, and 100 belongings of Memorial Museum of prominent musician and painter Mir Mohsun Navvab has been plundered by the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia. Currently, those precious things are sold in auction or presented to public as armenian cultural samples in different exhibitions and museums.
It is essential to recall that, in its Presidential Note adopted on 12 May 1992, UN Security Council expressed deep concern by “recent reports on the deterioration of the situation relating to Nagorno-Karabakh and by violations of ceasefire agreements which have caused heavy losses of human life and widespread material damage, and by their consequences for the countries of the region” and called upon “all concerned to take all steps necessary to bring the violence to an end..”. Despite that, on 18 May 1992, another Azerbaijan district - Lachyn was occupied by the Republic of Armenia.
Furthermore, in its resolution 822 (1993) adopted on 30 April 1993, the UN Security Council reaffirmed the principle of “the inadmissibility of the use of force for the acquisition of territory” applied to inter-State relations, demanding “the immediate cessation of all hostilities and hostile acts with a view to establishing a durable ceasefire, as well as immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces from ….and other recently occupied areas of Azerbaijan”.
However, the afore-mentioned UN documents remain unimplemented by the Republic of Armenia.
The Republic of Azerbaijan is confident that for the purposes of lasting peace, security and stability in the South Caucasus, the illegal occupation of the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan by the Republic of Armenia must be ended and the inalienable rights of Azerbaijani internally displaced persons to return to their places of origin must be fully recognized and implemented.
The responsibility for the consequences of any action which the Republic of Azerbaijan may be obliged to take in connection with the continued illegal presence of the Armenian armed forces and unlawful activities in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan in order to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders will lie entirely with the Republic of Armenia.