AAA: U.S. aid should be given to Armenia for Syrian refugees

As the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Inspector General (OIG), citing corrupt practices, has suspended 14 entities and individuals involved with humanitarian aid programs for Syria operating from Turkey, the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) has urged U.S. Congress to aid Armenia that has given refugee to thousands fleeing Syria in recent years.

“As the humanitarian crisis in Syria continues, we must redouble our efforts to ensure that relief aid reaches those in need,” stated AAA Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “That is why the Assembly is renewing its call for $15 million to Armenia for refugees resettling there from Syria.”

Armenian authorities say so far the country has accepted more than 20,000 – the third largest number of refugees in Europe per capita.  “As a host country, Armenia has been absolutely exemplary in terms of the ratio of welcomed Syrian-Armenian refugees to the number of native inhabitants,” United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) Representative in Armenia Christoph Bierwirth said.

The AAA said it continues to encourage Armenian Americans to contact Congress and ask them to support the Armenian government’s efforts in offering a safe and stable environment for the refugees escaping from Syria.

On March 24, the Armenian-American advocacy group submitted the same appeal in testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, recommending that from the Administration’s proposed budget of nearly $3 billion for migration and refugee assistance, at least $15 million be allocated for Armenia.