Marat Terterov: Armenia’s long term security will be better served by strengthening economic security, rather than defining national security on the basis of the Tsarist Russian catch-cry “armiya i flot”
The situation of Armenian refugees will improve with improvement of the economic and social conditions, with more stability in the political system, with democracy holding, rule of law improved, with less corruption, because the refugee situation does not exist in a vacuum, influenced by all these major factors happening in the country, Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Armenia, Damtew Dessalegne, told
"I would encourage for the refugees to play an organized advocacy lobbing to ensure that the special needs of these people are addressed in different ways, it should not just be left for the Government. We see developments in many of these major areas, I am optimistic that the refugee situation will also improve but people need also to look after themselves, to do a little bit more than relying on state assistance", he said.
When speaking of the recent meeting of Armenian Ambassador to Switzerland Charles Aznavour with the High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, during which they discussed the initiative on the refugees' housing problems in Armenia, Dessalegne recalled that the Government of Armenia organized a donors' conference last May, inviting High Commissioner to come and participate in the conference and to support the initiative. He added that this was strictly the initiative of the Government of Armenia.
"Unfortunately, the response was not very encouraging at that time, only one country Brasil gave a very modest funding (around 50 thousand US dollars). The Government was requesting 40 million for 1200 families against vast majority of former refugees that are citizens of Armenia now, and they are not refugees as such", he said. In Armenia it is extremely difficult to raise funds for housing, because housing is expensive. "96% of the existing housing stocking is privatized, is in private hands, so the Government does not even have properties to use for needy refugees", he said. "So it is a national problem", he said and added that there are some solutions to get out of it, but it may take a long time.