Yerevan Pursues Oppressive Policies Against Ethnic Minorities

By Laman Sadigova - Azernews.Az

The problem of human rights is deepening in Armenia amid increased discrimination against ethnic minorities in the country.

This time, the Armenian Church is the culprit, demanding an obligatory change of religion in this mostly mono-ethnic country.

The official website of the Armenian Church states that Armenian women can marry a Yazidi man only if he renounces his religion.

Armenia’s approximately 50,000 Yazidis, who settled there as refugees upon fleeing from the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, are the largest minority group in the mainly Christian country.

The Yazidis are also largely regarded as a religious minority in the Kurdish nation. But unlike the majority of Kurds, who are Muslims, they have their own controversial religious beliefs, leaving them open to attack.

The representatives of this ethnic group, residing in Armenia, constantly appeal to international organizations, complaining of discrimination by the Armenian government. This minority often holds protests in Yerevan and other cities, demanding the restoration of their rights, while the Armenian government maintains its silence.

The Armenian government is pursuing a policy of national and economic oppression of the Yazidis, depriving them of many rights. This includes the limitation of opportunities to engage in animal husbandry. Dangerously, the authorities frequently force Yazidis to assimilate with Armenian culture.

Schools in six villages in the Aragatsotn region, Alagyaz, Zhamyshran, Charcharis, Avshen, Shenkani, and Reyataz, all of which were renamed following the expulsion of Azerbaijanis, teach the Armenian language instead of the Yezidi language, except in some rare cases.

Yezidi activists say that as a result of the policy of ethnic cleansing, 30 percent of this nation's population has migrated in the past decade, and most of those who left are young people, aged between 18 and 35 years.

Within the framework of the European Convention on the languages of national minorities, signed by Armenia, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has repeatedly called on Armenian authorities to develop a systematic policy to ensure the availability of education in the Yazidi language. Also, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has repeatedly adopted resolutions to address the discrimination in the Yazidi community of Armenia.

A brutal incident took place recently, when police illegally evicted an Amaryan family from their house, while brutally beating them. This incident triggered mass protests in the country.

The situation is serious enough to attract defenders of the law, as the problem seems unlikely to be resolved.