Council of Europe Readies Comprehensive Measures in Reaction to Influx of Refugees in Armenia

Council of Europe Readies Comprehensive Measures in Reaction to Influx of Refugees in Armenia
Refugee camp by Ilya Varlamov via Flickr


Sofía Medina Sánchez 

International Justice and Human Rights Researcher 

Global Human Rights Defence 

The Council of Europe is in the process of formulating a comprehensive response strategy in light of the recent surge in refugees in Armenia. This initiative comes in the wake of the visit by the Special Representative on Migration and Refugees (SRSG), Leyla Kayacik, who conducted her mission from October 11 to 13, 2023.

The primary objective of this package is to extend assistance to Armenia in addressing the multifaceted challenges associated with accommodating over 100,000 Karabakh Armenians, which includes around 30,000 children, forced to seek refuge within the country in recent weeks.

The SRSG engaged in discussions with pertinent state authorities, international collaborators, and non-governmental organisations during the visit. Additionally, she visited two shelters located in the Artashat Municipality.

The SRSG identified specific areas where support is warranted, encompassed within the Council of Europe's Action Plan for Armenia (2023-2026) and the Action Plan on Protecting Vulnerable Persons in the context of migration and asylum (2021-25). These areas of focus include enhancing the safeguarding of human rights for refugees in vulnerable circumstances, with direct support being extended to the Migration and Citizenship Service of the Internal Affairs Ministry and the Office of the Human Rights Defender. Particular emphasis will be placed on vulnerability assessments, access to services, and raising refugees' awareness of their rights. Moreover, facilitating access to healthcare and mental health services, including psychological support is required and augmenting the capacities of professionals engaged in assisting vulnerable individuals. Issues related to educational inclusivity should be addressed and vocational curricula reevaluated. Most importantly, the children’s rights must be safeguarded, and local authorities’ resilience strengthened.  

Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić expressed, “Through this dedicated and targeted initiative, we aim to provide support to our member state Armenia and its citizens as they confront these extraordinary adversities and obstacles.”

Sources and further Reading: 

Council of Europe, Newsroom, Council of Europe to prepare package of measures in response to refugee influx in Armenia following Special Representative on Migration and Refugees’ visit, 30 October 2023:

Council of Europe, Action Plan for Armenia 2023-2026 CM(2022)121, Document prepared by the Office of the Directorate General of Programmes, Document approved by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 3 November 2022 (CM/Del/Dec(2022)1447/2.5) 6 September 2022: