Edita Gzoyan 

Reclamation of Armenian and Greek women and children after the Genocide: the Efforts of the League of Nations

During the 1915-1923 Ottoman Genocide against its Christian minorities together with mass murders and deportations, a lot of Christian children and women were forcibly moved to the Ottoman community, where they were Islamized and Turkified. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in WWI to practically implement the terms of Mudros Armistice related to the Armenians and Greeks, in February 1919 the Armenian-Greek Section (A.G.S.) was established. Among other duties the Armenian-Greek Section was entrusted with the issues of Islamized Christians and Christians in the hands of Turks. The Section took some limited steps to liberate the affected women and children and return them to the Armenian and Greek communities. The Section later passed on this task with the whole relevant information to the special Commission established by the League of Nations.

During the First Assembly of the League of Nations in 1920, the question of the protection of women and children in the Near East was raised in connection with the Traffic in Women and Children. By the proposal of the Romanian Delegate, the League of Nations decided to appoint a Commission of Enquiry to report on the position of the transferred women and children and take steps to reclaim them. The Commission consists of Dr. Kennedy (British), Miss Cushman (American), both at Constantinople, and Miss Jeppe (Danish), at Aleppo, Syria. In Constantinople a Mixed Board consisting also of the representatives from the Armenian and Greek Patriarchates has to be appointed to decide on the disputed cases of reclamation.

This paper aims to present the activities of the Armenian-Greek Section and the League of Nations towards the reclamation of Islamized Christian women and children and their efforts in returning them to their respective communities.