Armenian Foreign Minister Meets with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to Discuss Syrian Refugees

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On February 29, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian met United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein during a working visit to Geneva.

Welcoming Nalbandian, High Commissioner Al Hussein commended Armenia’s strong stance and continuous efforts against new acts of genocide, stressing that today the international community is acting more decisively in the prevention of crimes against humanity. Nalbandian responded saying that “as a nation, which survived the first genocide of the 20th century, we feel obliged to undertake steps in consolidation of international community’s efforts to exclude new crimes against humanity.”

During the meeting, they discussed human rights issues, especially towards minorities, as the situation unfolds in the Middle East. Earlier that day, Nalbandian delivered a speech during the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, referencing the human rights violations in the region. Nalbandian reiterated what he said in his speech to the UN Human Rights Council, sharing Armenia’s efforts sheltering nearly 20,000 refugees.

“The experiences of recent years prove that human rights, peace, and security are interrelated,” Nalbandian said during his speech. “Today the world is facing unprecedented threats and challenges. We are facing the rise of hatred, xenophobia, and racial discrimination, facing situations, where the right to life is under serious threat, as war and other acts of mass violence continue to take the lives of thousands of innocent human beings around the world,” he said.

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“Armenia condemns the atrocities, the crimes against humanity perpetrated in the Middle East, by “Daesh", Al-Nusra, and other terrorist groups, which constitute a threat to the existence of religious and ethnic minorities in the region, including the Armenians who have been for centuries a genuine component of the cultural diversity of the Middle East,” Nalbandian added. “About 20,000 refugees sought protection in Armenia due to the conflict, on per capita basis making our country as the third largest recipient of Syrian refugees in Europe,” he stated.   

In addition, both sides reflected on the importance of human rights protection within Armenia. Nalbandian stressed that effective cooperation has been established between Armenia and international organizations dealing with human rights.

Upon the High Commissioner’s request, Nalbandian presented the efforts exerted by Armenia and the OSCE Minsk group Co-Chairs towards a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh issue.

Photo Caption 1(L-R): 

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian meeting with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in Geneva on February 29.

Photo Caption 2: Foreign Minister Nalbandian delivering a speech during the 31st Session of the UN Human Rights Council on February 29.

About Armenian Assembly of America

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

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