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On 12 August 2013, at the UN House, UNFPA and UNHCR in Armenia held a joint press conference devoted to the 2013 International Youth Day. This year’s theme is “Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward”.

The speakers, Mr. Garik Hayrapetyan, UNFPA Armenia Assistant representative, and Ms, Anahit Hayrapetyan, UNHCR External Relations Associate, spoke about youth migration both in the global and Armenian context, also touching upon issues related to young refugees. Participants were also greeted by Ms. Kate Pooler, UNHCR Armenia Protection Officer.

International migration has become a vital development issue in the modern world. Over the past few decades, a political, economic, social and demographic change in many parts of the world has stimulated migration of people to cities within and across countries. At the same time along with migration from developed to developing countries, which has been a common phenomenon, there is a growing incidence of migration from one developing country to another. In particular, many young refugee Armenians from Iraq and Syria have moved to Armenia in recent years.

“It is clear that migration poses risks for our country and especially the young migrants by taking away young people who are full of energy and are in their best reproductive age and putting them at the risk of discrimination and exploitation. However, we must also be able to identify and properly use the opportunities offered by this phenomenon”, said Garik Hayrapetyan, UNFPA.

According to the UN DESA Population Division, the global number of international migrants aged 15 to 24 is estimated at 27 million, constituting about one-eighth of the global migrant stock of 214 million. According to Armenia National Youth Report, 78.5 per cent of respondents would leave Armenia for various purposes if they had a chance, while 36.8 per cent would leave the country permanently.

However, there is also a stratum of young, active, and concerned people being formed in Armenia, which includes young local, refugee and Diaspora Armenians. A short film about these young people was prepared by Y-Peer Armenia volunteers and screened during the press conference.

“Even one young refugee is too many, and we need to do everything we can to help them integrate into the society. The role of local young people is essential here. However, active involvement of young refugees will produce much better results”, - said Anahit Hayrapetyan, UNHCR.

UN SG Statement on 2013 International Youth Day