Armenia: Operational Update, 1 January – 31 March 2021

Situation Report
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UNHCR, with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and the Government of Armenia, continues to co-coordinate the response to the needs of the refugee-like population from Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) and host communities.

An Inter-Agency Response Plan to address those needs was launched on 22 January. The Government of Japan extended an Emergency Grant of USD 3.6 million to UN Armenia, of which USD 2 million were allocated to UNHCR.

UNHCR continues strengthening the asylum procedure and reception conditions. The Migration Service and UNHCR issued good practices to adjust asylum procedures to the COVID19 situation.

Operational Context

On 27 September 2020, clashes broke out along the line of contact and expanded to other areas in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, until a ceasefire statement was signed on 9 November. The conflict resulted in civilian casualties, destroyed infrastructure and some 90,000 people displaced from NagornoKarabakh and adjacent districts to Armenia. According to the Migration Service, 66,051 persons were in a refugee-like situation in Armenia as of 30 March 2021. The vast majority are women and children, hosted by relatives or in collective accommodation shelters, some in substandard condition.

Documentation, housing, decent employment and livelihood opportunities remain the most pressing needs of asylum-seekers and refugees. The COVID-19 pandemic, combined with the escalation of the conflict, aggravated the challenges associated with their difficult socioeconomic situation in Armenia.

UNHCR and partners work toward enhancing the protection environment while providing assistance to those most at risk. UNHCR advocates for inclusion of persons of concern in national response plans, including COVID-19 recovery and vaccination plans, and other legislative and administrative reforms.