Armenian Red Cross Society (ARCS)
Project title: Refugee Protection and Economic Integration
This Project is aimed at improving the protection environment and facilitate integration for refugees, asylum-seekers and other displaced persons in Armenia.
In particular, the activities focus on the following key priority areas: (i) prevention of refoulement and improvement of access to the territory and asylum procedures through capacity building and monitoring of border crossing points in Armenia; (ii) facilitation and integration support including economic integration of refugees, persons in refugee-like situations and, when applicable, asylum-seekers; (iii) prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against refugees and asylum-seekers in Armenia, (iv) ensuring refugee child protection and mainstreaming mechanisms are in place and cases responded.
Cooperation is strengthened with the Government, including border guards, and NGO representatives. The Project increases awareness and enhances identification skills of entry officials through border monitoring visits, provision of technical assistance, and capacity development activities. In addition, ARCS conducts meetings with potential asylum-seekers at borders, including detained asylum-seekers at border crossing points (BCPs), with a view to identify protection risks and needs, and, if required, provide appropriate basic humanitarian assistance. The Integration activities were designed according to the Migration Service’s Integration Strategy. Cooperation approach is considered to be the most important for integration support activities. In terms of facilitation of economic integration of persons of concern to UNHCR, the Project applies a comprehensive model in line with local integration plan by providing economic integration interventions. Education and cultural integration activities are aimed at enhancing the opportunities of PoCs to fully realize their potential and development opportunities. The social and psychological well-being of displaced populations is promoted as well.
In terms of prevention and response to SGBV, the Project has conducted proper and timely identification of SGBV cases and organized effective response for refugee survivors of SGBV. The Project focuses on SGBV case management and psychological support, immediate (24 and 48 hour) and longer-term referrals to other organizations for material and shelter assistance when appropriate, and promotion of self-reliance among SGBV survivors. The Project conducts comprehensive awareness raising and capacity building activities targeting relevant groups of asylum-seekers and refugees, government authorities and civil society representatives and youth. Child protection activities are aimed at capacitating the relevant state and NGO staff in regard to child protection cases and provision of comprehensive case management with prioritization of mainstreaming.
Mission Armenia NGO
Project title: Realizing basic rights of refugees and asylum seekers in safe and favorable protection environments in Armenia.
This project offers real-life strategies for the protection, inclusion, empowerment, and mainstreaming of around 4,200 refugees, asylum-seekers, persons in refugee-like situation and other displaced populations, as well as stateless persons and people at the risk of statelessness in Armenia. The overreaching goal of the project is to ensure that these persons are fully integrated into the existing national services, support systems, and the life overall.
The Project focuses on enforcing the basic rights of persons of concern to UNHCR, while securing safe environments and durable solutions to their multiple needs by adopting innovative solutions, among others.
The Project also focuses on promoting and facilitating local integration and mainstreaming. By offering a broad range of services, the Project seeks to ensure refugees’ protection and wellbeing in Armenia by securing qualified and effective legal aid and representation, improving living conditions for persons with specific needs, ensuring adequate health care , considerably raising their capacity for self-reliance and promoting integration and meaningful participation. The Project contributes towards enhancement of the protection environment through advocacy and awareness-raising activities. In addition, accommodation, basic humanitarian and psycho-social assistance are provides to extremely vulnerable refugees, asylum-seekers, persons in refugee-like situation and other displaced populations, as well as stateless persons.
In light of COVID-19 pandemic, the Project offers several innovative solutions to ensure the successful implementation of the project resulting the best interest of the PoC. The project aims to establish an online platform ensuring PoC easy access to up-to-date information regarding provided assistance and various events, for requesting and receiving online social and medical consultation and for submitting medical prescriptions. In addition, an online and paper version settlement of available services based on the service mapping results will be established to easy PoC access to available services.
The key outcomes of the Project will ensure successful achievement of the overreaching goals to fully integrate the PoC into the host society. The consolidated database, referral mechanism and coordination through UNHCR will, thereby, link the Project with the activities of other UNHCR implementing and operational partners. By employing bold, comprehensive, and holistic strategies, the PoC transition and mainstreaming will be smoother and successful.
Response to NK displacement
On 27 September 2020, a large-scale armed conflict erupted along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh. On the same day Martial Law was declared in Armenia which is still in place at the time of planning. The hostilities continued until 9 November 2020 (despite three ceasefire agreements mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries), when an agreement was signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia. Based on the agreement, several territories were passed to Azerbaijan, and in the rest of the regions Russian Peacekeeping contingent is located. The situation evolves on a daily basis and further security related considerations may apply based on the developments. As a result of the escalation of the NK conflict, approximately 90,000 displaced persons left NK for Armenia.
According to the Migration Service (MS), over 80,000 persons from NK have arrived in Armenia. UNHCR does not have access to the registration process and is not aware whether age, gender and specific needs data is available. As per rapid needs assessments and protection monitoring, over 80 percent of the population are women and children. Now, most people are accommodated in hosting families, with some 10 percent – in hotels and collective centres. Based on the NK de facto authorities’ data and UNHCR monitoring of returns, most people from NK are willing to go back, and some 10,000-20,000 persons have already returned. However, depending on the situation in NK (security constraints, reconstruction of infrastructure, repairs of damaged houses, etc) and winter conditions some of them might consider coming back to Armenia. It is expected that some 35,000-45,000 who arrived from the territories handed-over to Azerbaijan and a number of families, who do not have proper accommodation in NK, will remain during the winter season and may return if reconstruction and humanitarian programmes will take place in 2021.
Mission Armenia NGO staff member distributes humanitarian assistance © Mission Armenia
Needs assessment conducted by Mission Armenia NGO © Mission Armenia
Community mobilization by Mission Armenia NGO © Mission Armenia
Ensuring health care services are accessible© Mission Armenia