Yezidis of Armenia are faced with a choice: assimilation or emigration?


Every day 750 able-bodied citizens are leavening Armenia forever.  And in total for the last 6 months 123,000 people left Armenia and did not return. This equates to the population of a city like Gyumri, Abovyan, Charentsavan, and Hrazdan…  Not only Armenians, but also Yezidis leave the unfavorable Armenia. “The Yezidis have published their figures according to which the same number of their compatriots is leaving Armenia. The Yezidis also emigrate. This is a tragedy, a record in the history of Armenia”, – said the ANC parliamentary group secretary Aram Manukyan.

There are plenty of reasons for the Yezidis to escape from Armenia. In addition to well-known Armenian economic troubles, the Yezidis are being bullied also on a national basis. According to Yezidi activists, as a result of the policy of ethnic cleansing in the past ten years, about 30 percent of the Yezidis emigrated from Armenia, most of those who left are young people aged 18-35. Yazidis are leaving mainly to Russia, and then get political asylum in Europe. However, if they can freely enter Russia, in case of the European countries they have to emigrate via the International Committee of the Red Cross.

19-year-old Aziz Bakoyan, Yezidi by nationality, drafted by the Armed Forces of Armenia and sent to one of the military units located in the town of Dilijan, escaped from the military base. Being caught, he told how he was abused just because he is a Yezidi. This year, in the Armenian-occupied Karabakh, a platoon commander by the name of Levon, called to the service from Armenia, in a drunken stupor insulted his countrymen and a Yezidi Kurd serviceman, resulting in a fight. As a result, the soldiers were hospitalized with injuries of varying severity.

Degradation of the socio-ethnic relations in Armenia is so rapid, that even the church, designed to invoke bright feelings in church members, became involved in it. Thus, the priest of the Armenian Orthodox Church Father Esai introduced an amendment on the official website of the Armenian Apostolic Church, that marriage between an Armenian and Yezidi is possible only if the latter gives up his faith. He also wrote a fascist nonsense about the alleged satanic nature of Yezidi beliefs.

In recent years the Armenian Yezidis gather and come out with political demands, protesting against the deliberate mixing of their nation with the Kurds. In the area densely populated by Yezidis, in six villages of Aragatsotn region – Alagyaz, Zhamyshran, Charcharis, Avshen, Shenkani, Reyataz, in schools, instead of the Yezidi language children are forced to speak in Armenian or Kurdish. It offends the Yezidis, they claim that they are not Kurdish, are fundamentally different from them and demand differential treatment. The leaders of the association “Sinjar” issued a threat, that if the relevant authorities of Armenia will not put an end to discrimination, they will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Within the framework of “The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages” signed by Armenia, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has repeatedly urged the Armenian authorities to develop a systematic policy to ensure the availability of educational materials in the republic in the Yezidi language. A European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has repeatedly adopted resolutions on discrimination against the Yezidi community in Armenia. Solution to the problem of one of the ethnic minorities of Armenia – Yezidis, can be sought in the framework of obtaining the status of autonomy inside Armenia. Laws of Armenia, constitutional provisions allow this. The Yezidis have national organizations that can take on the responsibility for the legal process for the attainment of national autonomy. Only this way they can protect their ethnic group from involuntary assimilation and forced emigration.

Author: Kamal Ali

Source: Azeri.Today

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