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The Yezidi Community Threatened 

Today police officers arrived at Ferik village of Armavir marz and lined up on the road to community lands. The police are defending the property rights of the new land owner, whose representatives had brought farming machinery to plough the land. When we reached Ferik, only the local police representative was there and an investigator who was collecting documents at the municipality.

The problem that has brewed here is due to sales of 197ha of community lands, which effectively deprives the farmers raising cattle from a grazing land. These lands were secretly sold in 2004 to Hrant Grigoryan and his brother Zarzand Grigoryan. These are Manvel Grigoryan’s nephews, the almighty General until very recently. Back then, this Yezidi community was led by the neighboring village’s resident, ethnically Armenian Norik Hayrapetyan.

Up until 2018, the almighty Grigoryans were not using the lands and the locals were not even aware that they had been deprived of their grazing lands. They only learned about it after the Velvet Revolution, when Ara Tagesyan, introduced as a Syrian Armenian arrived as buyer of the lands from Grigoryans.

According to Ferik residents, Tagesyan came and understood the situation at the beginning and said he didn’t want to go against the village and deprive the locals from their means of livelihood, so he said that he had only paid the 10% advance payment, which he would demand back and drop his ownership claim to the lands. He probably was not able to receive his money back from the Grigoryans and came back to the village with an attitude twisted upside-down.

The Yezidis were also annoyed that the new land owner was constantly hinting on the fact that the locals were an ethnic minority. According to them, he was saying that it was his motherland, that he was an Armenian and wanted to do an investment in his motherland. The locals, in defense, were opposing that they served the army of Armenia and Karabakh, that a large proportion of victims in the war in 90s and “April War” were Yezidis.

Depriving Ferik of grazing lands will force the locals mostly engaged in animal husbandry to leave their homes. The residents of neighboring villages show their indifference to the issues of Ferik and do not demonstrate any signs of solidarity. It is noteworthy that the neighboring villages have significantly larger community lands than Ferik. More details, in the video.