On 22 November 2022, a closing event of the “Asylum and Human Rights” HELP/UNHCR course was organised jointly with Council of Europe, UNHCR Armenia and the UNHCR Representation to the European Institutions in Strasburg aimed to strengthen the capacity of lawyers, prosecutors, judges, public defenders and decision-makers in the field of refugee protection and human rights.
This hybrid event brought together the twenty-one graduates of this pilot course, representing Migration Service, General Prosecutor’s Office, National Security Service and its Border Guards Troops, courts, Chamber of Advocates, Human Rights Defender’s Office, Legal Clinic of the Yerevan State University, UNHCR and its partner Mission Armenia NGO, as well as the tutor of the course. The core guests of the event were UNHCR and CoE officials in Armenia and Strasburg, France.
In his opening remarks, Andrei Arjupin, UNHCR Armenia Protection Officer, thanked the colleagues of the UNHCR Representation to the European Institutions in Strasburg and the colleagues of the CoE Yerevan Office and CoE HELP Secretariat for the fruitful cooperation, and congratulated the participants on the successful completion of the course.
“I am glad that you have benefited from “Asylum and Human Rights” HELP course tailored for the legal experts and service providers working in the sphere of international protection", he noted. “The course came very timely, in the crucial period of the reforms in the national judicial and migration field and asylum system in Armenia,” Mr. Arjupin added.
The Deputy Head of the CoE Office in Yerevan, Leila Zhdanova, on her turn, congratulated the participants on the successful completion of the course: “I am happy to acknowledge that through this joint initiative between CoE and UNHCR, a group of legal professionals had the opportunity to get in-depth insight to the European and other international standards and further apply their knowledge in practice targeting refugees in need of protection and support.”
The participants shared their reflections, discussed the main outcomes and achievements of the course, and brainstormed on how best they could share the knowledge gained with their colleagues and students, other legal experts and defenders of refugee rights.
“I am proud to have participated in the first HELP course in Armenia. The knowledge I received was extremely useful and applicable in practical work with refugees,” said one of the graduates. “What I liked most was the regular feedback and Q&A possibility with the tutor who explained to us all the complex points which we came across during the course,” another participant added and thanked the organizers and the tutor for the productive course.
Many of the participants especially appreciated the fact that the course was developed and conducted in Armenian and that it was skilfully adapted to the national context – both from theoretical and practical perspectives.
Sergey Ghazinyan, a legal expert and the tutor of “Asylum and Human Rights” HELP course thanked the participants and shared his observations, as well.
“What I really valued about the course was the utmost attention and interest of the group of experts who were of different backgrounds, not necessarily lawyers but directly or indirectly involved in the protection of refugee rights. I also highly appreciated the platform of cooperation that opened up a forum with interesting discussions and debates, particularly about some multifaceted issues and situations yielding innovative ideas and recommendations,” the tutor, Sergey Ghazinyan, added.
The event was concluded with a handover of certificates and a group photo to serve as a memory about the first HELP course in Armenia.
HELP/UNHCR “Asylum and Human Rights” course is crucial and beneficial for its legal partners and service providers as it covers the aspects which target and directly impact the protection and well-being of asylum-seekers and refugees. It provides an overview of the main international standards, the relevant complaint mechanisms and other key aspects, as well as the current situation and the challenges in the migration and asylum fields, globally.