Armenia Adopts New Law on Refugees

YEREVAN–The Armenian government has adopted a Law on Refugees that aims to provide the displaced with a greater sense of security. Under the law–those applying for refugee status will receive a decision on their status request within one month.

Those denied status have the right to appeal. In general–refugees will share the same rights as citizens–except that they will not be able to vote in national or local elections–hold elected office–or be an official member of a political party.

According to the law–those refugees who lack citizenship are eligible to apply for documen’s that would permit them to travel abroad. Armenia is already home to upwards of 300,000 refugees–most of whom fled neighboring Azerbaijan during the fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.

The new law gran’s automatic refugee status to all those who arrived in Armenia between 1988-92–and who did not previously receive refugee status. It also declares that refugees are eligible to become naturalized Armenian citizens–but it does not specify naturalization procedures. The Law on Refugees was drafted in consultation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

For more information contact– The Forced Migration Projects–400 West 59th Street–4th floor– New York–NY 10019– tel: (212)548-0655 fax: (212) 548-4676 e-mail: refugee@sorosny.org website: www.soros.org/migrate.html

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