2009-07-03 | News
UNHCR Marks World Refugee Day and Inaugurates the Social House for Iraqi refugees in Armenia

On 3 July, 2009 the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Armenia invited Government of Armenia, the United Nations family, diplomatic missions, local and international organisations, private sector and refugees to mark World Refugee Day as well as to inaugurate the Social House in Darbnik village of Ararat marz, reconstructed for Iraqi refugee families in Armenia.

In 2008, the building of the former agricultural college in Darbnik village of Ararat marz was kindly and readily provided to UNHCR by the Government of Armenia, namely the Ministry of Territorial Administration of the Republic of Armenia/State Migration Agency, and was remodelled into 46 social apartments and 1 social room by UNHCR’s implementing partner YMCA Shelter. Furthermore, Government of Armenia ensured that the infrastructure of the building, gas and electricity, is in place, and Ararat marz authorities and Darbnik community greatly contributed to the installation of the external infrastructure of the building. With the generous support of UNHCR’s partner in the private sector, VivaCell-MTS, UNHCR was able to complete the remodeling works of one block of the social house. Moreover, to secure basic living conditions for Iraqi refugees, UNHCR Armenia, jointly with US Embassy in Armenia, provided/will provide basic furniture sets to the families in their new social apartments in Darbnik.

UNHCR Armenia, through its implementing partners, Mission Armenia Charitable Social NGO and the Armenian Centre for Health and Education promotes social integration of refugees in Darbnik by helping them to integrate in the host community and in the society, in general. Further, the Future is Yours Charitable Social NGO, UNHCR’s partner for organizing this event, carried out a range of bridging community activities for refugees in Darbnik.

In her opening speech, UNHCR Armenia Representative Bushra Halepota wished the Iraqi families joy in their new neighbourhood and a dignified and happy life together in the generous community of Darbnik. “Indeed, a house is built by bricks but a home and community are built by hearts, and it is the close link with the community that makes this beautiful tuf building into a happy abode for Iraqi families”, Bushra Halepota added.

“Our duty is to ensure that those people who have been uprooted from their homes, and came to their Motherland, do not leave it in search of safe haven somewhere else.”, said VivaCell-MTS General Manager. “VivaCell-MTS as a corporate citizen, wants to contribute to this great initiative of housing, initiated by UNHCR. We believe that social adaptation and integration of people forced to flee their country starts from having their secure corner. We, the Armenians of Armenia, have to do our best to create conditions for these people to stay and see their children’s future here, in the historical motherland”, added Ralph Yirikian.

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, H.E. Deputy Prime Minister of RA Armen Gevorgyan, VivaCell-MTS General Manager Ralph Yirikian, honourable guests and refugees joined the UNHCR Armenia Representative in the tour around the Social House. They planted trees in the area of the Social House which symbolized the start of a new life of Iraqi refugee families in Darbnik. The event was also celebrated with national cuisine, exhibition and colourful performances of refugee children from Darbnik and regions, passing the message of hope, peace, warmth and solidarity.

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