Iraqi Yazidis ‘Willing To Settle In Armenia’

Iraqi Yazidis fleeing violence from Islamic State forces in Sinjar town

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—At least 150 Iraqi Yazidis who have taken refuge in Turkey are ready to relocate to Armenia on a permanent basis, a leader of the Armenian Yazidi community said on Tuesday.

Boris Murazi, the head of the Yerevan-based Sanjar Union, said the community can provide them with accommodation and work in rural areas of Armenia mostly populated by fellow Yazidis. He urged the Armenian government to allow those refugees to enter the country.

Murazi spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian service ( two days after returning from southeastern Turkey where he and other Sanjar Union activists visited Yazidi refugee camps and heard harrowing accounts of atrocities committed by Islamic State militants in Iraq. In his words, as many as 22,000 of his co-ethnics fled to Turkey after being displaced by the radical Sunni Islamists.

“We want to bring 150 of them to Armenia as they would feel much safer living among Christians,” said Murazi. “I contacted the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan. He said that it would be a long process and that we need to apply in writing. So we couldn’t bring anyone with us when we were in Turkey.”

The activist said the refugees could be easily resettled in Yazidi-populated villages across Armenia. “In the village of Mirak alone, the mayor has said he is ready to give 15 empty houses to [Yazidi refugees.] We have made it clear to the government that there would be no need [to] provide those people with accommodation and even food,” he stressed.

The Armenian government has so far reacted vaguely to this appeal, with Balayan saying only that none of the Iraqi Yazidis has formally applied for asylum yet. Asked what the authorities in Yerevan will do if they do receive such applications, the Foreign Ministry official said, “Again, we have received no formal applications.”

Iraqi nationals need visas in order to travel to Armenia and they can obtain them only at Armenian diplomatic missions in Iraq or neighboring states. On August 21, the government approved a set of measures designed to make it easier for Iraqis of Armenian descent to take refuge in their ancestral homeland or receive Armenian citizenship. But it stopped short of easing visa requirements for Iraqi Yazidis.

By contrast, the leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh expressed readiness earlier in August to grant asylum to the displaced Yazidis. A senior official in Stepanakert referred to Yazidis as “an integral part of the Armenian people.”

Murazi said the Armenian authorities should have no national security concerns regarding the influx of non-Armenian refugees. He said his organization has drawn up a list of the 150 or so Iraqi Yazidis willing to resettle in Armenia and can submit them to the authorities. “We undertake to bear responsibility for the would-be migrants,” added the activist.

The authorities have also faced calls from Armenian civic groups and individual activists to open Armenia’s borders to Iraqi Yazidis.

There are an estimated 40,000 Yazidis living in Armenia, making them the country’s largest ethnic and religious minority.


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  1. bigmoustache said:

    as a nation that endured genocide we are morally obligated to allow a sanctuary to as many yazidis who wish to seek asylum in Armenia.
    this will further show to the world that we are a tolerant people and can be multicultural. we need to show that we are more tolerant than muslim countries like turkey and Azerbaijan and that in the future if a war were to break out with Azerbaijan, the talish, lezgi and kurds are better off in Armenia than Azerbaijan.
    Armenia does not have abundant allies in the region.
    I hope the government of Armenia has enough sense to allow asylum to as many yezidis who wish to be Armenian.

    *furthermore, this is a little off topic but we should change our notion of what an Armenian is. anyone who wishes to be Armenian should be an Armenian. it should have nothing to do with blood. if we want our nation to grow we have to redefine the meaning of “Armenian” to be more inclusive. this will not change or weaken our culture. the turks have been doing this for centuries and it has not diminished their culture one bit. they have taken greeks, Armenians, arabs, Balkan Europeans and absorbed them as turks without any negative effect on their culture.

    • dvo said:

      you know that Armenians are depopulating leaving the country, the world doest give a shit about people let the rich whealty countries help others. I lost my fate in global justice a long time ago. the reason Armenia is what it is today. becouse armenia falls for these lies of justice. were is our justice?

  2. edward demian said:

    These people opened their doors to Armenian survivors at a great peril . The Dersim massacres were in retaliation just for that. It is shameful for us to deny them shelter after all they have done for us.

    • GeorgeMardig said:

      Unfortunatly Armenia is a small country and can only absorb limited cuantity of people.

  3. light said:

    pls no settlement of muslim or another religion in armenia or artsakh we want HIGH IQ people
    ple do not do it to
    don’t be traitor to ARMENIAN history and the motherland


    • bigmoustache said:

      like turkey for the turks? don’t be racist that kind of thinking will destroy our culture. learn something from successful people. if you wish to see Armenia as a great nation you have to be more inclusive

    • dvo said:

      God bless you even how hard it sounds it the is reality. we should help other by not sacrificing our selfs.

    • John Kassabian said:


      Study how Urartu formed, as if you were around back then their would be no Armenia. Use the parallel of the Assyrians, and what is happening today. The main problem with Armenians, is we do not accept anyone. Or have very little faith in assimilating anyone. We discriminate even against Armenians.


  4. vartan said:


    • Sarkis said:

      Yezidis fought with Armenian during the 1st republic and the Karabakh war. We can help their people who are in need at least with 15 empty houses, their are too many empty houses in Armenia.

  5. Darwin Jamgochian said:

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”

    Armenia – I love you!

  6. sam said:

    yezidis are welcome in armenia i have no problem with they are villagers and harmless and peace loving why not and they will defend armenia when they have to

  7. LechWalesaWasAnti-Semitic said:

    This provides the RA with a wonderful opportunity for some good international publicity and the chance to help fellow refugee peoples, approaching the centennial of the genocide – one of the worst refugee crises in the past century. Sadly it sounds like they are too thick to glean this. What a shame! The population of the RA is dwindling, the eyes of the much of the world are on the suffering of Yezidis for just a fleeting moment in history and Armenians cannot recognize an opportunity when it presents itself. Seems like the NKR is sharper in this regard, but clearly they are more powerless to act. Armenian-Americans groups should do everything they can to see to it that the RA does not squander this chance. A common Armenian refrain is that we have no friends in the world – well now is a good chance to make some…

  8. GeorgeMardig said:

    Bringing few thousend to Armenia will not change much Armenia, however Armenia can capitalize on it big time on the world stage

  9. krikor said:

    They are half a million! Maybe more. With the depopulation of Armenia this becomes a real threat. Allocate Armenia’s resources and land to Armenians. Adopt a strategy that makes resettling in Armenia feasible and easy. This is the only way to save the Armenian race.

    • Armenian said:

      You want to save the Armenian state? Buy back all of the property sold to Russia, and then proceed to get rid of corrupt, uneducated, backwards, and criminal regime. You’d be amazed at how much can change.

    • bigmoustache said:

      no khelatsi this will help in armenias population. we should integrate these people as Armenians. they will serve the nation that saved them. treat them well, allow them their culture and language and they will be grateful. just like the grateful Armenians who serve in the diaspora

  10. dvo said:

    Big mistake as much as they are peacefull people our population is to low to accept other imigrant to our nation. we should aid them by not sacrificing oue nation. i deeply respect those ezidis that fought against our side. but if we follow this path the next thing you know it will end like eastern Armenia become Yezidistan like Kurdistan on western Armenia, why becouse Armenian leaders are dumb as sheeps sometimes.

    we are just to poor and less to accept imigrants. the next thing you know this will become a example to all refugeez and than not only ezidis will come but also muslims that will end up to suicide bombers in the futere. Ezidis are our brothers but our history shows that Armenia can only bellong to Armenians, Being respectfull and helping others is one thing.

  11. zarkim said:

    We should help as many Yazidis as we can. Yazidis are our brothers and sisters.
    They are nice people and will help Armenia in the long run. They will settle well.
    Armenian Government should speed up their entry to Armenia.

  12. GeorgeMardig said:

    We should start populating Western Armenia, by inviting Yazidis to Western Armenia.

  13. m said:

    If we read carefully the article, we can see that what the yezidi activist is asking a permission or a visa that will allow the refugees to enter Armenia. The yezidi community will provide house, food and other necessities to them. They seem to know well what the Armenian government can and cannot give. And they will live in the yezidi villages and will not disturb the neighborhood in Yerevan or other Armenian villages.