Another Diaspora Activist Denied Entry to Armenia


By Robert Zargarian

YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Armenia’s government has banned yet another Diaspora-based activist of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun/ARF) from entering the country, in a move strongly condemned by the opposition party.

Njteh Karakavorian, the head of the youth wing of ARF’s branch in France, was due to attend an upcoming conference of the pan-Armenian party’s young activists that will take place in Syunik province. He said he learned on Sunday, January 29, that he will be denied entry to Armenia.

“They are saying that I’m an undesirable person for Armenia,” Karakavorian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on January 30. He said the authorities in Yerevan gave no concrete reason for the travel ban.

Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS), which issues such bans, refused to clarify why it declared Karakavorian persona non grata. It said that only the French-Armenian activist can receive a formal explanation if he requests one in writing.

Karakavorian, who repeatedly visited Armenia last year, is the fourth ARF activist known to have been barred from visiting his ancestral homeland. The three others received such bans last summer. They included Mourad Papazian, one of the leaders of France’s influential Armenian community.

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The Armenian government said that Papazian was deported upon his arrival at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport in July 2022 because of organizing an angry demonstration against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s June 2021 visit to France. It said the protesters threw “various objects” at Pashinyan’s motorcade when it drove through Paris. Papazian denied any involvement in that protest.

The ARF in Armenia was at the forefront of regular rallies launched in Yerevan last spring by the country’s main opposition groups trying to topple Pashinyan.

The party has strongly condemned the travel ban imposed on its European activists.


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