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Armenia Protection Monitoring Report #2, January - February 2021

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Armenia
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UNHCR
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OPERATIONAL CONTEXT

On 27 September 2020, fighting broke out along the line of contact between Armenia and Azerbaijan and progressively expanded to the territories around and inside Nagorno-Karabakh until a ceasefire statement was signed on 9 November 2020. As a consequence, tens of thousands of people fled from NagornoKarabakh to Armenia while tens of thousands of people affected by the conflict were also temporarily displaced within Azerbaijan.

According to the Armenian Migration Service, some 90,000 persons found themselves in a refugee-like situation in Armenia as reported in December 2020 and who at the time were residing in ten marzes (provinces) of the country1 including in the capital. Of these, 88% were women and children.2 According to the population data from the Migration Service of Armenia, 68,050 persons (75%) in a refugee-like situation have remained in Armenia as of 21 February 2021. The number of individuals who have returned is calculated based on their registration in the return areas for the cash or other type of humanitarian assistance. Among the refugee-like population who remained in Armenia, the gender distribution was 59% female (40,127 individuals) and 41% male (27,923 individuals).3 Still, there is no clarity as to how many of these returns are permanent or of a more temporary nature.

The host community in Armenia welcomed the refugee-like population, sharing accommodation, food, and other available resources. However, previously socioeconomically stable households that hosted refugee-like families are now facing challenges to pay rent, utilities and provide food. In addition to being hosted by local communities, the new arrivals benefit from the communal accommodation provided by the Government. In its effort to address urgent needs of the affected population, the Government has been rolling out several cashbased support programmes, since mid-November 2020, for the affected population.

The conflict impacted the refugee-like population and host communities physically, mentally, socially, and financially; and is adding pressure on institutions and their capacity to coordinate, finance, and fully address essential needs.