By Lilit Shahverdyan
In a cabinet session on October 26, the Armenian government approved the creation of a “temporary protected status” for displaced persons from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that the new status would facilitate the protection of their rights in the local and international arenas.
The law automatically applies to the over 100,000 ethnic Armenians of Karabakh who fled to Armenia following Azerbaijan’s forceful seizure of the territory on 19-20 September. That offensive – which came after a 9-month blockade that had caused severe shortages of food, fuel, medicine, and other essential supplies – resulted in the disbanding of the local army, the Artsakh Defense Force, on September 21. A few days later, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic itself, which had governed the region for three decades, began the process of formal dissolution.
The Armenian government is only now beginning to grapple with the issue of the displaced persons’ status.
Those eligible for the new temporary protected status are persons registered as residents of Nagorno-Karabakh, persons living in Armenia or abroad whose last registered address was in Nagorno-Karabakh, and persons who were not registered in Nagorno-Karabakh but lived there and were registered by the Armenian Migration and Citizenship Service as entering the country after September 19.