The Central Committee of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), Eastern United States condemns the detention of AYF-YOARF Central Executive member Areni Margossian at Armenia’s Zvartnots International Airport where she was denied entry without explanation upon her arrival on August 1. After being held for hours, Areni was forced to leave the homeland of her heritage and travel to Lebanon where she is now with family.
In her remarks at an AYF-led protest in Washington D.C. on January 21, 2023, Areni said: “Perhaps our beds are too soft, or our homes are too warm, or our sugar too sweet, that we cannot fathom the struggles facing Artsakh today. But this does not lessen our responsibility. Perhaps two years of ongoing war and atrocity after atrocity have made us numb. Then maybe it’s time to open the wound back up a little and channel pain into action, rather than numb it.”
At a time when the Armenian government is purportedly welcoming youth to Armenia for a forum without substance and meant only for show, the Armenian government’s refusal to allow entry to a leader of the largest and most influential Armenian-American youth organization was on full display for the world to see. Because Areni posed no threat to the people of Armenia and had committed no crime, the Pashinyan regime’s decision to bar Areni from entering Armenia must have been based on her well-known, principled stand for Artsakh’s self-determination in conflict with the Pashinyan regime’s policies.
The Central Committee, the ARF of Armenia, and the ARF Bureau Office for Youth Affairs were in communication with Areni throughout her ordeal and obtained support from human rights and diplomatic officials to seek Areni’s immediate and unconditional release. No information or explanation has been provided to any entity or to Areni by the government of Armenia for its action despite repeated demands.
This deplorable action by the Pashinyan regime, in line with the modus operandi of the governments of Azerbaijan and Turkey, requires a full and immediate explanation. We call on our community members and allies to join us in our condemnation of Areni’s treatment, in our demand for full accountability from the Armenian government, and in our ongoing work for Artsakh’s protection and self-determination.