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Armenia recognises genocide of Yazidis in Iraq

2 min

Yerevan (AFP)

Armenia's parliament on Tuesday passed a resolution recognising the 2014 genocide of Yazidis by the Islamic State group in Iraq and called for an international probe into the crimes.

Jihadists murdered thousands in massacres four years ago. Thousands of other women and girls were abducted and used as sex slaves.

"With this resolution we not only recognise and condemn the genocide, we also call on the international community to lead an international investigation," said Rustam Makhmudyan, the Yazidi deputy of a parliamentary human rights commission.

"As a nation that has lived through genocide, the Armenian people understand the significance of this recognition," said Armen Ashotyan, a ruling party lawmaker.

There are around 35,000 Yazidis in Armenia, making them the largest minority group in the ex-Soviet state. The world's biggest Yazidi temple is currently being built in a small Armenian village.

During the massacres, several dozen Yazidi families fled from northern Iraq to Armenia.

Of the world's 1.5 million Yazidis, the largest community was in Iraq where it comprised some 550,000 people before being scattered by an IS offensive.

Kurdish Iraqi officials in December said around half of the Yazidis kidnapped by IS are still missing and that 47 mass graves containing the remains of Yazidis have been found since 2014.

The UN has called the massacres of Yazidis a genocide, arguing that IS had planned them and then intentionally separated men from women to prevent Yazidi children from being born.

The Yazidis are Kurdish-speaking but follow their own non-Muslim faith that earned them the hatred of the Sunni Muslim extremists of IS.

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