Father and Daughter Activists from Netherlands Denied Entry into Armenia

By Asbarez | Monday, 01 August 2022

The chairman of the Armenian National Committee of Netherlands and his daughter, a member of the Armenian Youth Federation of Netherlands were banned from entering Armenia on Sunday.

In a social media post, Suneh Abrahamian reported that after waiting at Zvartnots Airport in Yerevan for 12 hours, Armenia’s security officials told her that she was banned from entering the country and was considered a persona non-grata. On Monday, it was revealed that her father, Massis Abrahamian, was also shown the same treatment and both were told to return home.

Suneh Abrahamian, wrote on her Facebook page on Sunday that she had gone to Armenia to participate in a camp in Syunik organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Youth Office.

“Yesterday evening upon arriving at the airport in Armenia to participate in the ARF Youth Office voluntary camps in Syunik, I was immediately put in a small room and interrogated. After taking my passport and keeping me for 12 hours without any explanation, I was informed that my entry to my homeland was rejected and I am a persona non grata for the Armenian authorities. Words cannot describe the disappointment and pain I feel for being denied my homeland. Currently I am waiting at the airport to return to the Netherlands,” said Abrahamian in her Facebook post, adding that she is a member of the Garegin Njdeh Armenian Youth Federation chapter of the Netherlands.

The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy, headquarters in Brussels, demanded that Armenia’s authorities to immediately stop this process and “put an end to the anti-national attitude toward Armenian Cause leaders and activists, especially the youth who are have their first experiences in that realm.”

With the Abrahamians ban, the Armenian authorities have thus far refused entry to three Diaspora Armenians.

On July 14, Mourad Papazian, a member of the ARF Bureau and a co-chair the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations in France (CCAF) was similarly turned back at Zvartonts International Airport.

Weeks later, the Armenian government explained that the reason for Papazian’s ban was his alleged active role in a protest against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan while he was visiting Paris in June 2021. Papazian had traveled to Armenia at least on four occasion since June 2021, the most recent of which was in May when he accompanied Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo to Armenia for an official visit.

On Thursday Papazian announced that a complaint has already been filed on his behalf to reverse the decision.

Upon Papazian’s dismissal from Armenia, the ARF Bureau, the CCAF as well as the ARF Western U.S. Central Committee issued statements condemning the government’s actions, with the latter emphasizing that the Armenian government does not have the right to refuse entry to any Armenian.