United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Christoph Bierwirth, Representative

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UN House
14 Petros Adamyan St.
Yerevan 0010, Armenia
Tel.: (374 10) 56 47 71,
(374 10) 58 48 92, (374 10) 54 59 35,
(374 10) 54 59 36, (374 91) 41 53 87
Fax: (374 10) 56 78 17
E-mail: armye@unhcr.org
URL:  http://www.unhcr.org


The main objectives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are the following:

  • Ensure that the interpretation and application of the national legal framework meet the requirements of international legal obligations towards refugees and asylum-seekers;
  • Assist the authorities to substantially strengthen their refugee status determination procedures so that they respond simultaneously to the twin imperatives of fairness and efficiency;
  • Financial and technical assistance to the Government and Implementing Partners to continue strengthening asylum institutions;
  • Advocate for the mainstreaming of refugees into the national integration and development programmes;
  • Provide focused assistance to help the most vulnerable to achieve self-reliance, and mobilize local partners and institutions to support the local integration of refugees.



From 1 January 2014 to June 2017։ ­­

  • Approx. 9,500 vulnerable and newly arrived persons (3,100 families) benefitted from cash-based interventions (winterization, utilities, school supplies)
  • 1300 persons benefitted from livelihood projects (tool-kits and micro-credits) language courses,intergration projects,CTA;
  • 4,300 persons (1,200 families) benefitted from rental subsidy assistance,as well as 50 PoC accessed temporary social housing;
  • 10,400 persons received legal and procedural information and counseling;
  • 2,000 persons received hygienic packages, bedding items, clothing, kitchen utensils;
  • 3,800 persons (1,100 families) received food parcels and benefitted from integration soup-kitchen;

As of June 2017 there are a total of 18,606 people of concern - refugees, asylum-seekers, persons in a refugee-like situation and stateless persons of which:

  • Refugees - 3,349                                                        
  • Asylum seekers - 71
  • People in refugee-like situations - 14,573, including

- Persons displaced from Syrian Arab Republic - 14,000

- Persons displaced from Nagorno- Karabakh into Armenia - 573

  • Stateless persons - 613


USD 4,4 million requested։

Gap - 57%

Funded - 43%

UNHCR Presence

Offices: 1 office located in the capital city, Yerevan

Staff: 2 international, 11 national staff, 5 affiliated workforce, including national UN volunteers


Background and strategic directions

UNHCR established its presence in Armenia in December 1992 to contribute to the humanitarian response related to the mass influx of 360,000 refugees of Armenian background displaced from Azerbaijan in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Armenia is a State party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, its 1967 Protocol, as well as, to the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions. Armenia is a full member of UNHCR EXCOM since 2015.

Presently the office is focusing in particular on the humanitarian needs and promotion of integration of about 17,000 persons who fled the conflict in Syria and sought protection in Armenia.  Arrivals are ongoing. Moreover, Armenia hosts refugees and asylum-seekers from Iraq, Ukraine and Iran and smaller numbers of refugees from some African countries. Moreover, as a result of the escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the early days of April 2016, some new displacement occurred in Armenia. UNHCR therefore promptly engaged in field monitoring, and initiated a modest, targeted humanitarian response for the vulnerable families displaced from NK in Armenia. Hence, out of 2,247 persons (around 681 families) seeking protection in Armenia, 1429 persons (411 families) have so far benefitted from UNHCR cash-based interventions.

Built on the progress made in the previous years, namely, in the field of legislative reforms, the establishing of asylum procedures, and humanitarian response network the following UNHCR strategic priorities for 2015-2017 are:

  • to further develop the Armenian asylum system with a view to further enhance the quality of decision making and adjust capacities to needs
  • to gradually shift the focus of assistance efforts from humanitarian response towards the promotion and facilitation of durable solutions, primarily by way of local integration
  • to bring into operation Armenia’s statelessness determination procedures following adoption of related legislation

Working with partners

UNHCR Armenia’s primary government partners are the State Migration Service, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora.  Most of UNHCR’s activities in Armenia are conducted through and in close cooperation with partners; UNHCR main project partners are: State Migration Service, Mission Armenia NGO, Armenian Red Cross Society, KASA Swiss Humanitarian Foundation, Save the Children International and Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Development National Center (SME-DNC). Moreover, UNHCR closely cooperates with the Ombudsman Office and a broad range of operational partners, including, Armenian Caritas, OXFAM, Ani & Narod Memorial Foundation, ‘’Aleppo’’ Compatriotic Charitable NGO, many of which have been supported by UNHCR in project design and fund-raising efforts. The Office is an active member of the UNCT and has joint activities with IOM, UNICEF and UNDP and, together with IOM, has successfully promoted the inclusion of a migration displacement specific outcome into the 2016-2020 UNDAF.

Main activities

Protection, including asylum capacity building

  • Promotion of further legislative reform processes, including, a new Law on Refugees and Asylum and inclusion of an asylum provision into the Constitution
  • Further capacitation of the State Migration Service through training and technical assistance
  • Judicial engagement, through systematic training of judges and lawyers, provision of legal counseling services, and strategic litigation
  • Activities offering psycho-social support and serving the prevention of and response to SGBV
  • Public information and activities raising awareness on and understanding for the plight of displaced populations aiming at enhancing the protection environment and promoting integration

 Basic needs and essential services

  • Maintenance and expansion of a comprehensive humanitarian response network and referral mechanisms
  • Provision of rental subsidies, one-time relocation grants and other targeted assistance to address specific needs of the vulnerable persons

Promotion of durable solutions by way of integration and strengthening of self-reliance

  • Provision of language classes, measures facilitating cultural and social adaptation, “how to do business in Armenia” courses, as well as,  vocational training paired with coaching programmes and market access support for displaced start-up businessmen and entrepreneurs
  • Income generation projects through small grants and provision of microcredits
  • “Adopt-a-Family’’ project, community mobilisation, specific youth integration measures

Prevention and reduction of statelessness

  • Promotion of amendments to citizenship legislation and bringing into operation statelessness determination procedures


UNHCR is grateful for the generous contributions of donors who have supported the UNHCR operation in Armenia. 

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