Asbarez: Displaced Artsakh Residents Will Receive Benefits Regardless of Status

Artsakh residents crammed onto and inside a truck leaving for Armenia (Reuters photo)

Armenia’s authorities announced that the forcibly displaced Artsakh residents will received their pensions and other benefits regardless of their status.

The fate of the assistance allocation was mired in controversy last month when the government decided to grant the displaced Artsakh Armenians “temporary protection” formalizing their status of refugees. By doing so, the government stressed that the Artsakh Armenians are not citizens of Armenia despite the fact that virtually all of them hold Armenian passports. Government officials described their passports as mere “travel documents,” a claim disputed by some legal experts.

The announcement on Monday seemed to be course correction with authorities assuring that the displaced Artsakh residents will receive pensions and other benefits owed to them since their exodus to Armenia.

Previously, the government said that the displaced Artsakh residents will only receive 50,000 drams ($125) each in November and December in addition to the 100,000 drams given to them in October.

Prior to Monday, some senior Armenian officials indicated that Artsakh pensioners, retired military and security personnel, as well as other relevant categories will be eligible for monthly benefits only if they apply for and receive Armenian citizenship.

Deputy Labor Minister Davit Khachatryan told that the distribution will occur in December and cover the period from the displaced Artsakh residents’ departure from Artsakh through December.

“We are doing everything to make sure that [the refugees] start getting their pensions along with everybody else at the beginning of December,” Khachatryan said.