On December 9 “Refugee protection and mainstreaming into the Armenian social protection system” workshop organized by the Armenian Red Cross Society, in the frame of project funded by UNHCR Armenia, took place in Yerevan. The event brought together a group of 40 participants representing state officials, including Migration Service, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MLSA) and the Unified Social Service, partner NGOs engaged in refugee protection and integration projects, as well as UNHCR.
The workshop aimed at summing up the activities carried out by the Armenian Red Cross Society in the sphere of awareness-raising and capacity-building of the USS’s social workers in Yerevan and provinces, to brainstorm about facilitating refugees’ access to social services and livelihood opportunities and get an update on the ongoing legislative and social reforms and other aspects of refugee protection, including housing, food security, healthcare, education and employment.
Hasmik Khachatryan, the Head of the Population Movement Department of the ARCS, thanked all the participants and noted, “For many years the Armenian Red Cross Society has been involved in the process of developing the capabilities of all state and non-state structures related to the protection of refugees. And also, taking into account the legislative changes expected in Armenia in 2023.”
The Head of the Migration Service, Armen Ghazaryan, talked about the legislative changes in 2023, including the formation of a Migration and Citizenship Service within the Ministry of Internal Affairs and elaborated on the process and the details of the reforms. Mr. Ghazaryan also informed about the upcoming shift of certain responsibilities from the Migration Service to the USS of the MLSA, namely the social protection and integration component targeting refugees and asylum-seekers and returnees.
Thanking the Armenian Red Cross Society for organizing the workshop, the UNHCR Armenia Protection Officer, Andrei Arjupin, highly acknowledged its partner’s efforts in supporting UNHCR to promote refugee protection and their mainstreaming into the current reforms in the migration and social protection field. He mentioned the importance of the activities aimed to raise the awareness and strengthen the capacity of the social workers and other service providers in Yerevan and provinces involved in healthcare, child protection, gender-based violence related issues, education and livelihood.