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arminfo: 18 REFUGEE FAMILIES CAN BE THROWN OUT ON STREET

YEREVAN, AUGUST 28. ARMINFO. Eighteen refugee families addressed a letter to President Robert Kocharian and Speaker of the Parliament Artur Baghdasarian, demanding prevention of their eviction.

Some 20 refugees have gathered in front of the presidential residence today, protesting the eviction of their families by the demand of the new owners of the buildings occupied by the refugees for over ten years. Sargis Sargssian, the owner of the “Swallow” guest-house, where 12 refugee families currently reside, lodged a claim with the minor court of the Center and Nork-Marash districts demanding the refugees’ eviction. under a contract, Sargssian was to provide the refugees with lodgings, which, he is convinced, he has done, and it is the Department for migration and Refugees that is supposed to provide the refugees with housing. The court rejected Sargssian’s claim, but he applied to the Court of Appeal.

Six refugees families residing in a privatized building in Aramanotsain St. also came to the presidential residence. Their case was considered by the minor court and the Court of Appeal. both the courts returned verdicts on the refugees’ eviction. “The owner of the building told us that she had arranged with the judges and we had no chance,” one of the refugees, Larisa Apresova, complained. The main problem of the refugees occupying the building is that only two of them have the refugee status and “the next in turn lodging is being provided to [them].” The others acquired Armenian citizenship and, Apresova said, will be thrown out on the street. In this connection, we would like to remind our readers of the statement made at one of the seminars on refugees’ problems by Head of the Department for Migration and Refugees Gagik Yeganian. He stated that “during the long work on informing the refugees of the benefits of the status of refugee and citizen, the number of refugees wishing to get naturalized sharply increased.” Also, as Yeganian said, in December 2000, the Armenian Parliament adopted a law guaranteeing protection of refugees even after their naturalization. Moreover, he said, some economic problems began to be solved immediately after refugees acquired Armenian citizenship. Yeganian was proud to state that only 6-7 thousand refugees became Armenian citizens before 1999, while after 2000 this figure reached 62-63 thousand.

The refugees do not have any special hopes that their problems will be solved after they have make applications – they have repeatedly applied to the President and to the National Assembly, but the problem has not been resolved. The Department for Migration and Refugees tells the refugees that it is unable to provide them with flats. Apresova reported that the refugees have also applied to the UN Armenia office. “A seminar was organized, and that was the end of the matter,” Apresova said.

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