On 22 May 2017, The Office of the Human Rights Defender (HRDO) of the Republic of Armenia (RA) and the Representation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Armenia organized a workshop on Refugee definition and asylum procedures for Staff of the Human Rights Defender of RA.
The purpose of the workshop was to introduce UNHCR mandate, its history, Refugee definition in International and National Law, exclusion and cessation clauses of the refugee status and the asylum granting procedure to the Staff of HRDO. Local experts and representatives from UNHCR, State Migration Service (SMS) of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of Republic of Armenia and “Mission Armenia” Social NGO presented the theoretical regulations and practical issues regarding the above mentioned topics.
The Border Guard Troops of the RA National Security Service, representatives from SMS and other non-governmental organizations operating in the field also participated in the workshop.
In his opening remarks Deputy Human Rights Defender, Mr. Armen Mashinyan referred to the proper application of the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and persons of concern. He highly appreciated the role of UNHCR in the field and the cooperation between HRDO and UNHCR. Mr. Armen Mashinyan highlighted the importance of capacity building among the HRDO staff in the framework of programs being implemented in 2017.
During the opening ceremony UNHCR Protection Officer, Ms. Inna Borisevich, said: “UNHCR highly appreciates the strengthened cooperation with the Human Rights Defender's Office of the Republic of Armenia in protecting the rights of displaced population and monitoring the situation of asylum-seekers in Armenia and emphasises the Human Rights Defender's role in ensuring implementation of Article 14(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which enshrines that “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”
The parties stressed the importance of continuous nature of such events, the expansion of cooperation in protecting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, as well as the need for strengthening capacity building.