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 Wednesday, October 18 2023 20:53
Marianna Mkrtchyan

Armenia`s Deputy FM: UN could not activate its early response  mechanism to prevent ethnic cleansing of Artsakh

Armenia`s Deputy FM: UN could not activate its early response  mechanism to prevent ethnic cleansing of Artsakh

ArmInfo. On October 17, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Vahe  Gevorgyan participated and delivered remarks at the launch of the Refugee Response Program.

As the press service of the RA MFA reports, in his speech, Deputy  Foreign Minister Vahe Gevorgyan, particularly noted:  "Thank you for  attending the launch of the Refugee Response Program. Armenia has  faced refugee issues since the first days of its independence and  with the support of the Office of the United Nations High  Commissioner for Refugees and other partners, tried to do its best to  help and alleviate the needs of people who have been forced to leave  their motherland and home due to threats to life and freedom.

The United Nations and multilateral international cooperation have  traditionally been based on the thesis of human and societal  progress, but after three decades, facing a humanitarian crisis of  such magnitude gives rise to other thoughts. Unfortunately, in 2023  the UN could not activate its early response mechanism, even though  there were many reports that the rights of the Armenian population of  Nagorno Karabakh were being grossly violated for months.

The people of Nagorno-Karabakh were under the blockade for about 10  months, in conditions of lack of food, medicine, other basic  necessities, and fuel. This was followed by the military aggression  of Azerbaijan targeting the civilian population and civilian  infrastructure. As a result, in just a few days the entire population  of Nagorno-Karabakh was forcibly displaced.

Armenia received more than 100,000 people who had to leave their  homes within hours. Many of them were unable to take even basic  necessities and documents with them. A lot of refugees from Nagorno  Karabakh have serious health problems, including psychological ones,  due to the lack of access to medical care in recent months,  malnutrition and the fact of living in an atmosphere of constant  fear. More than 100 refugees have serious physical problems as a  result of the explosion in Stepanakert after the military aggression.

Regrettably, despite the efforts of Armenia, during these months it  was not possible to ensure access of the UN bodies on the ground.  Azerbaijan allowed a visit of the UN delegation on a limited status  after it had already carried out the ethnic cleansing of Armenians.

In these conditions, it is more than important that the refugees from  Nagorno-Karabakh feel that they are not alone and abandoned. It is  important that they feel the power of international support and  solidarity.

Not only short-term programs should be launched for the refugees, but  also mid-term works should be planned, sustainable livelihood should  be ensured, their accommodation, education, employment and other  issues should be resolved. It is also important to be prepared for  the coming winter.

In this sense, the problem of proper distribution and proper  coordination of work is more than valuable. Humanitarian Coordination  Platform for Refugee Situation, created under the leadership of the  Government, particularly leaded by Deputy Prime Minister Tigran  Khachatryan, is a flexible response mechanism, the aim of which is to  provide the fastest and most coordinated solutions to the problems of  refugees in close cooperation with international partners.

Welcoming the Refugee Response Program, I should note that it aims to  support the efforts of the Government of Armenia in equally using the  potential of humanitarian organizations, UN agencies, international  and local NGOs.

While concentrating on providing protection and assistance to  refugees - financial support, resolving accommodation and other  issues - the Program will also support host communities, keeping  focus on vulnerable groups such as children, women, persons with  disabilities, the elderly, etc.

International protection and assistance to refugees also considers  long-term solutions that include the implementation of their right to  voluntary return in safety and dignity as defined by international  law.

I would like to take this opportunity once again to thank the Office  of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, represented by  Mr. Leclerc and his colleagues for promoting the issue in the  international fora and for effective cooperation.  Thank you," the  Deputy FM concluded.

According to the RA government data, after the Azerbaijani aggression  on September 19-20, 100,632 forcibly displaced citizens entered  Armenia from Nagorno Karabakh. In addition to the one-time assistance  of 100 thousand drams, it was previously announced that from October  1, 40 thousand drams (about $100) per month per person will be  allocated to cover the housing costs of each family forcedly  displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh, and another 10 thousand drams - to  pay for utilities. The program will cover all displaced citizens,  regardless of age, with the exception of those in special centers and  those who are not on the territory of Armenia. At the same time,  property owners in Armenia will receive 10 thousand drams to pay  utility bills. The total cost of the program will be 27 billion  drams.

About 50 thousand more Artsakh residents became refugees as a result  of the 44-day war in 2020. Thus, in total, over the past 3 years,  about 150 thousand Artsakh residents became refugees after the  Azerbaijani aggression against the NKR. 

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