Yezidis from Iraq seeking refuge in Armenia

The Armenian office of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, in cooperationwith the Public Journalism Club and the Media Center, will hold a discussion on the position of Iraqi Yezidi refugees in Armenia on September 30.

Three Yezidi families from Iraq have obtained refugee status in Armenia so far, but community representatives are expecting the government to do more. For instance, the Sinjar Yezidi National Union Sinjar has previously asked the Armenian foreign ministry to work with its Georgian counterpart to facilitate travel from Turkey. The ministry has said this will be a long process since the National Security Service will need to check each individual separately.

Yezidis are the largest minority in Armenia. According to the 2011 census, there were more than 35,000 of them, accounting for about one per cent of the population. Many Yezidis began settling here during the Russian-Turkish wars of the 19th century, and more fled the Ottoman Empire alongside with Armenians during the massacres of 1915.

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