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A Genocide No One Knows About: Yezidis Protest in Front of Parliament

Representatives of Armenia’s Yezidi Community will fight so that RA National Assembly Deputy-Speaker, Republican Party member Eduard Sharmazanov’s authored draft statement about the Genocide of ethnic-religious minorities in the Ottoman Empire be excluded from the Assembly's agenda or include the fact of the Yezidi Genocide as well.

Today, about 2 dozen Yezidi community representatives demonstrated in front of the National Assembly entrance demanding an amendment to the draft in order for the Genocide against Yezidis to also be mentioned. Police did not allow the protesters to stand near the NA entrance, therefore the protest took place across the street. The protesters noted that even if the current draft was to be included in the agenda, they would continue to fight for another draft specifically for Yezidis.

Yezidi Youth Association of Armenia President Sayid Avdalyan recalled that last year Zaruhi Postanjyan’s proposed draft statement mentioned the genocide of Yezidis, while the Republican Party representative’s (Sharmazanov) document did not include the line about Yezidis. Avdalyan said that the NA’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs had told that there was not sufficient archival documents that testified to a Yezidi Genocide, however the Association claim there are and that they would present them to the MPs. The President of the Yezidi Association cited Genocide historian Israel Charny, who wrote about the Ottoman Empire’s  genocide against Yezidis, calling it "a genocide no one knows about." 

Avdalyan expressed his surprise about the MP’s behavior, stressing that Armenian-Yezidi friendship is spoken about frequently in Armenia, however it has been forgotten in this case. Avdalyan assumed that such an attitude might have an underlying political motive.

“On February 7, Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduard Nalbandyan met with Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani in Munich (Germany) and spoke about developing cooperation between Armenia and Iraq. We think that in [Postanjyan’s] draft statement, not only was included the Yezidi genocide on Ottoman territory, but also the current one by the terrorist group Islamic State. Subsequently, if Zaruhi Postanjyan’s draft were to be accepted, it would condemn not only the Yezidi genocide in the Ottoman Empire but also on Iraqi territory.

It is not in the interests of the Armenian authorities to condemn the genocide in Iraq, because it would shatter plans on cooperation between Armenia and Kurdistan,” said the President of the Yezidi Youth Association of Armenia.

During today’s hearing at the National Assembly Zaruhi Postanjyan raised the issue of the Yezidi Genocide not being included in the draft. Postanjyan noted that she would present evidence about the fact that a Genocide against Yezidis had taken place. NA Speaker Galust Sahakyan stated that they had not found any document which justified that a genocide against Yezidis had actually happened. The NA Speaker said that the committee would look over the issue and study Postanjyan’s presented documents.