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Government Approves More Aid Programs For Karabakh Refugees


Armenia -- Labor and Social Affairs Minister Mesrop Arakelian at a cabinet meeting in Yerevan, December 17, 2020.

The Armenian government approved on Thursday two temporary employment programs for residents of Nagorno-Karabakh who fled to Armenia during the recent war with Azerbaijan.

In particular, it pledged to create public works jobs for the ethnic Armenian refugees remaining in the country. A government statement did not specify how many of them will be covered by the scheme. It said only that they will be able to work for up to three months and receive 8,000 drams ($15) a day.

The government will also offer to finance paid internships for unemployed refugees willing to gain work experience in new fields. It will pay each intern 100,000 drams a month and compensate their employers for all resulting taxes.

“These are short-term programs that do not encourage permanent work … because more long-term employment encouragement programs are planned in Artsakh (Karabakh). They will enable Artsakh citizens to have stable incomes,” Labor and Social Affairs Minister Mesrop Arakelian said during a cabinet meeting in Yerevan.

The government also announced three-month financial assistance to families in Armenia and Karabakh temporarily hosting Karabakh Armenians who lost their homes during the six-week war stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire on November 10. They will get 30,000 and 45,000 drams respectively for every person hosted by them.

According to authorities in Stepanakert, at least 90,000 civilians making up around 60 percent of Karabakh’s population fled their homes during the war. Most of them took refuge in Armenia. At least 40,000 Karabakh Armenians have reportedly returned home over the past month.

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