More Refugees Seek Armenian Citizenship

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–More refugees are currently willing to acquire Armenian citizenship–Chief of the Department for Refugees and Population Migration of the Social Welfare Ministry Hakop Hayrapetian said. He reported that his department is carrying out policies aimed at integrating refugees into local communities.

According to Hayrapetian–since the introduction of new Armenian passports about 2,500 refugees have acquired Armenian citizenship. About 700 of them have acquired Armenian citizenship this year.

Hayrapetian reported that of 311,000 refugees registered in Armenia–31,400 are living abroad–mainly in CIS countries. Currently–there are 246,000 refugees in the country–with the majority of them residing in rural areas.

A considerably large number of refugees are residing in the Ararat (51,700)–Kotayk (32,000)–Gegharkounik (30,500) and Siunik (12,000) regions.

There are a total of 50,000 refugees in Yerevan–Charentsavan–Abovian and Masis. About 14,000 refugee families have no permanent residence.

About 60,000 refugees residing in rural areas are provided with work–while 146,000 refugees get various allowances.

Hayrapetian reported that–under the United Nations development programs–the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Office in Armenia will continue construction of housing for refugees.

Hayrapetian said that currently they are specifying regions and settlemen’s–where cottages–drinking water networks–medical service units and other structures should be built.

The construction will be financed by the UNHCR–donor countries such as Germany and Switzerland–as well as a number of international public organizations.

In the southern and central regions of Armenia–construction will be carried out by OXFAM charity organization–while construction in the northern regions will be carried out by the Catholic Relief Service of the United States.

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