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Yazidi Girls in Armenia Are Denied Their Right to Education: Report

Limitations on Yazidi women's right to education are a serious issue among Armenia's Yazidi community, “Sinjar” Yazidi National Union representatives Zemfira Kalashyan and Boris Murazi say in a Friday report, stressing that the majority of Yazidi women do not even graduate from school and many even remain illiterate. This situation, the authors note, persists due to the propaganda conducted by some Yazidi leaders of an older generation. 

In 2012, in particular, Armenia's government approved the draft law “On Amendments to the Family Code of Armenia” which set at 18 the minimum age of marriage for both men and women. 

“Many members of Armenia's Yazidi community spoke against the adoption of this law.  Namely, Aziz Tamosyan, who thinks himself to be the president of the Yazidis of the world, announced that with this move, the Armenian government was making Yazidi girls 'miserbale.' He noted in particular that Yazidi women with higher education do not get married. 

“As a result of such stereotypical thinking, many Yazidi women are currently denied the right to education,” the authors stress.

The negligent conduct of government agencies also contributes to the violation of Yazidi women's right to education, the report states. According to the RA law On Education, a 9-year education (12-year, starting 2015) is compulsory for Armenian citizens, but state authorities “haven't even attempted” to prevent the instances of violations of Yazidi women's right to education: “In villages mainly populated by Yazidis many parents do now allow their daughter to graduate even 5th or 6th grade, but the Ministry of Education and Science has never tried to explain to these parents that they are violating the law, as well as their children's rights, and should be held accountable for that.”

Kalashyan and Murazi also present statistical data, according to which, for example, in the period from 2004 to 2015, 84 Yazidi girls entered school in Armavir province's village of Artashar, of whom 37 graduated from 9th grade, and 3 only – from 12th. Thereby, 52% of female students did not even finish 9th grade to meet the compulsory education requirement.

A total number of 473 Yazidi girls entered school in 2003-2015 in 15 Yazidi-populated villages, 234 of whom graduated from 9th grade, 122 – from 12th, while 117 girls did not even get to finish the required for basic education 9 years.

“Given that fact that a 12-year education is the minimum necessary standard for a person, we can safely state that the majority of Yazidi girls actually remain illiterate.

“The fact that schools are nowadays funded in accordance with the number of pupils should also be taken into account. Often, especially in rural communities, the children are registered in schools, but they do not take part in the educational process. There are numerous such instances in Yazidi-populated villages,” the report stated, noting that the Education Ministry's timely detection of these cases could significantly reduce the number of violations of Yazidi women's right to education.

Pictured  – Yerevan-based “Sinjar” Yazidi Sunday school