Some 20 years after the beginning of Armenia’s war with Azerbaijan and related violence, information on the remaining 8,400 people internally displaced is scarce. People internally displaced by the conflict have received hardly any government attention because other larger refugee and internally displaced groups have made competing demands on the state budget in a time of economic transition and crisis. International organisations have also largely neglected their plight. The low public profile and lack of registration and monitoring of these internally displaced people (IDPs) and returnees have made it difficult to estimate how many have achieved durable solutions.
IDPs and returnees face some of the same challenges as their non-displaced neighbours, and some face additional particular hardships including the loss of or damage to property, the unavailability of property restitution or compensation mechanisms, the inability to visit former homes and the continuing insecurity in border areas. Some suffered psychological trauma during the war, depend on welfare and are only minimally engaged in economic activities.
The remaining IDPs and returnees will not achieve durable solutions until their specific needs are identified and addressed, reconciliation initiatives established and, above all, a peace agreement is realised. There is a need to support IDPs who have chosen to integrate in their place of displacement, accelerate recovery in border areas, create non-agricultural work for returnees and adopt a national housing strategy giving special consideration to IDPs whose housing was damaged or destroyed.