Friday, 21 May 2010

Arevik and David: story of immigration, Skype love, detention and troubles (Bulgaria - Armenia)

Thanks to Global Voices Online, I learned of this complicated immigration and internet love story of young Armenian guy David Arutyunyan [probably - Harutyunyan], with no legal status in Bulgaria, and Arevik Shmavonyan, a pregnant Armenian citizen who is currently being kept at a detention centre in Bulgaria.

David has been living in Bulgaria from the age of 6 when his parents immigrated from Armenia in 1993. Since then they passed through lots of legal and humanitarian troubles, but eventually David’s parents and sister were granted legal documents. However, David was refused a legal status, as reportedly the Armenian side denied clearing the paper work demanding he serves in the army. I see big problem here, providing all the info I am reading is correct, of course. It’s ridiculous that this guy should be held responsible for ‘avoiding’ military service as he was taken to Bulgaria when he was 6 years old. If the Armenian authorities cleared his parents’ paper work (who were responsible for immigrating to Bulgaria, in the first instance), they should have done so for David too.
David went to primary school, which is mandatory under Bulgarian law. When he was 14, Bulgarian authorities finally allowed his family to obtain Bulgarian ID papers, provided that Armenian authorities would also do their part of the paperwork and give them a go-ahead. So David's parents obtained ID documents for themselves and for their daughter (David's sister). However, Armenian authorities refused to give a go-ahead for David because, according to them, he had to return to Armenia to serve 3 years in the army.
Now about Arevik. As per Bulgarian bloggers’ reports, she met David on Skype, and they were in online relationship for 5 years (!). Around 3 months ago, Arevik came to Bulgaria to meet him in person. The problem I see here is that David had already been in troubles because of lacking legal papers in Bulgaria, so he should have known that Arevik would inevitably face problems. I may only assume that they thought having a baby will help them both in facilitating their legal status in Bulgaria.

Currently Arevik is at (immigrants) detention centre Busmanci where people kept in prison-like conditions, according to the reports by Bulgarian bloggers. In fact, it’s been dubbed “The Bulgarian Guanatanamo”.
In Busmanci, Arevik found out that she was pregnant. Her pregnancy is problematic, causing cyclic vomiting and severe eating and sleeping problems. Arevik has been in Busmanci already for one month, and for this time has been taken twice to hospital unconscious. Nevertheless, she is still kept there, in a room with about 10 other women and without adequate care. Although Arevik has done nothing wrong, her release is not in sight, and her life is in peril as well as the life of her unborn child.
Maya’s Corner writes: “In an April 29 Mediapool article by Irina Nedeva titled Arevik and David - a love story between Montana, Erevan and Busmanci, the head of the Young Armenians' Charity Union Victor Baramov is quoted to say that his organization has many other examples of people without a legal status in Bulgaria despite having lived here for 20 or more years”.

*picture - via Svetla Encheva's blog

1 comment:

artmika said...

I am afraid, I cannot accept comments in languages I do not understand. Please, comment only in English, Armenian or Russian. Sorry for inconvenience this may cause.