YEREVAN — On December 10, the Inter-Agency Commission on the Coordination of Syrian-Armenians’ Issues held its final session of the year. The session was moderated by RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan.

Chief of Staff of the RA Ministry of Diaspora Firdus Zakaryan delivered a report on the activities that the Inter-Agency Commission on the Coordination of Syrian-Armenians’ Issues has carried out this year. Zakaryan mentioned that at this moment, there are nearly 17,000 Syrian-Armenians in Armenia. Between 2012 and 2015, 12,000 Syrian-Armenians have acquired Armenian citizenship; 1,650 Syrian-Armenians have obtained a residency status; 2,200 Syrian-Armenians have addressed the Ministry of Diaspora with the request for job placement; 85 Syrian-Armenians have received funding from the Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Development National Center to do business; the Ministry of Diaspora has collaborated with 200 state and non-governmental organizations and individuals for job placement, and over 500 Syrian-Armenians have been hired by Syrian-Armenians having achieved success in the small business sector. Currently, over 1,000 Syrian-Armenian families receive money for rent from various benevolent organizations. In 2015, the Legal Department of the RA Ministry of Diaspora has provided legal aid to 500 Syrian-Armenians. The latter have also been supported by the Chamber of Advocates. There has also been a lot of work done in the healthcare sector.

The participants of the session also seriously discussed the issues facing Syrian-Armenians. Representative of AGBU Armenia Hovik Yordekyan mentioned that in regard to the provision of scholarships for Syrian-Armenian students, in addition to the sums allocated by the Government of the Republic of Armenia, the AGBU and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation have also provided additional financial assistance by paying the tuition fees for another 20 Syrian-Armenian students.

Summing up the session, Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan mentioned that the agencies represented within the Inter-Agency Commission on the Coordination of Syrian-Armenians’ Issues have treated the issues related to their competence with a sense of responsibility. The minister expressed her deep gratitude to all agencies, benevolent and non-governmental organizations and religious organizations for the work that they have done in good faith. The minister mentioned that the issues of housing and employment remain problematic and that they need to be solved through combined efforts. Hranush Hakobyan said it was important to be alert and generous towards the Syrian-Armenians in need of support.

The Commission approved the working plan for the year 2016.

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