Armenia officially expressed concern on Friday at Islamist militants’ continuing campaign of violence against Yazidis in northern Iraq who have been forced to flee their homes in droves.
“We are deeply concerned by the violence against the Iraqi Yazidis perpetrated by extremists. We share the indignation of Yazidis living in Armenia concerning the ongoing tragic events,” Tigran Balayan, the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in written remarks.
“We agree with the international community on the need to immediately stop the violence by extremists in Iraq,” he said. “The Armenian Missions in the UN and other international organizations have received respective directives to closely cooperate with stakeholders on this issue.”
The statement came after a series of street protests staged by Yazidis, members of Armenia’s largest ethnic and religious minority, in Yerevan in recent days. They believe that the Armenian government has been too slow to react to the mass killings and deportations of their co-ethnics by the Islamic State movement, which has declared a “caliphate” in parts of Iraq and Syria. Some of them also urged Armenia to officially represent the Yazidi people in the international arena.
Two senior Armenian officials met with Yazidi community leaders earlier this week. They said that Yerevan is closely monitoring the developments in Iraq and raising the plight of the Iraqi Yazidis with various international bodies.
The government also announced on Wednesday that it will send $50,000 worth of humanitarian assistance to displaced Yazidis.