Armenia has undertaken substantial efforts in assisting refugees – FM

“The Government of Armenia has undertaken substantial efforts in assisting the refugees and facilitating their integration,” Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian sai din his remarks at the 2017 OSCE Mediterranean Conference Palermo.

“From Syria alone Armenia has harbored about 22.000 refugees, on per capita basis making our country the third largest recipient of Syrian refugees in Europe. This has caused a number of challenges for a country of just 3 million which has in the recent past already received hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing from Azerbaijan,” the Minister said.

“Many of the Syrian Armenian refugees are descendants of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide who found shelter in Syria. One hundred years passed, they were forced once again to abandon their places of residence. Thus, Armenians know what it means to be a refugee and to host refugees,” the Foreign Minister stated.

“The Government of Armenia has undertaken substantial efforts in assisting the refugees and facilitating their integration. We offered wide variety of protection tools such as accelerated asylum procedures, facilitated naturalization, emergency and medical assistance, housing, scholarships, simplified access to educational institutions and labor market, flexible taxation and business environment. We are grateful for certain international support provided to Armenia in this regard and look forward for the continued cooperation,” he added.

“Armenia has also tried to reach out to the people who need assistance in Syria by continuous provision of humanitarian aid. The Consulate General of Armenia in Aleppo has been the only diplomatic mission in the city that despite challenging conditions has never stopped operating,” Edward Nalbandian stated.

“It goes without saying that comprehensive response to the large movements of migrants and refugees requires addressing root causes of this phenomenon, such as terrorism and identity based crimes. Armenia was among the first in the OSCE to raise these issues and strongly advocate for the strengthening of the OSCE commitments in this regard. The condemnation of persecutions of individuals and communities, including on the basis of their religion or belief, bringing to justice those who participate in perpetrating terrorist acts, preventing cross-border movement of foreign fighters, weapons, funds connected to the terrorist activities are important parts of the OSCE commitments enshrined in the Hamburg ministerial declaration on terrorism. We are convinced in the continuation of the OSCE efforts in this regard,” the Armenian Foreign Minister stated.

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