‘Kuwait’s hu­man­i­tar­ian ef­forts save mil­lions of refugees lives’

UNHCR of­fice set to mark World Refugees Day

Arab Times - - LOCAL -

KUWAIT CITY, June 19, (KUNA): The great hu­man­i­tar­ian ini­tia­tives launched in re­cent years by Kuwait, led by His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, have had a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on sav­ing mil­lions of refugees’ lives around the world, a UN of­fi­cial af­firmed Mon­day.

Kuwait is a vi­tal fac­tor and part of the in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to meet ur­gent hu­man­i­tar­ian needs for refugees in the re­gion and across the globe through mo­bi­liz­ing in­ter­na­tional sup­port, hold­ing in­ter­na­tional donors’ con­fer­ences, and urg­ing coun­tries and key donors to honor their com­mit­ments, Dr Hanan Ham­dan, Head of the UN High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees (UNHCR) of­fice in Kuwait, told KUNA ahead of cel­e­brat­ing World Refugees Day, held an­nu­ally on June 20th.

Con­trib­uted

In 2016, Kuwait has con­trib­uted $360 mil­lion to UNHCR to re­solve the crises in Syria and Iraq, Ham­dan noted, in­di­cat­ing that the Gulf coun­try was also placed sec­ond in do­na­tions’ value for the Syr­ian peo­ple at the third in­ter­na­tional donors’ con­fer­ence in 2015, pledg­ing $500 mil­lion.

On the in­ter­na­tional level, Kuwait is UNHCR’s sixth largest donor, she men­tioned, adding co­op­er­a­tion and strate­gic part­ner­ships be­tween the two sides have con­tin­ued in 2017, where UNHCR and Kuwait Fund for Arab Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment (KFAED) signed a $10 mil­lion­worth agree­ment to im­prove the liv­ing con­di­tions of Syr­ian refu- gees in north Iraq.

The UNHCR’s of­fice in Kuwait has had the priv­i­lege to co­op­er­ate with the Kuwaiti pri­vate sec­tor in fa­vor of refugees, sign­ing a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) in 2016 with Zain Group, one the lead­ing telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion com­pa­nies in the coun­try, to sup­port Syr­ian refugees and im­prove their sit­u­a­tions, in ad­di­tion to launch­ing a joint e-cam­paign, en­ti­tled #ZainWithRefugees, to raise funds for help­ing chil­dren and their fam­i­lies sur­vive the harsh win­ter con­di­tions.

Part­ner­ship

Ham­dan also val­ued Kuwait’s con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to­ward the in­ter­na­tional hu­man­i­tar­ian ac­tion, and strate­gic part­ner­ship with in­ter­na­tional hu­man­i­tar­ian or­ga­ni­za­tions and UNHCR.

Mean­while, the UN of­fi­cial men­tioned that UNHCR has al­ways been present at the front lines of ma­jor hu­man­i­tar­ian crises in the world, in­clud­ing Syria, Iraq, Cen­tral African Repub­lic, Afghanistan, South Su­dan, and Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo, af­firm­ing the Com­mis­sioner’s con­tin­u­ous ef­forts to re­solve is­sue of the largest num­ber of refugees around the world to date.

Over 65.3 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide were forced to leave their homes, in­clud­ing nearly 21.3 mil­lion refugees, among whom are un­der 18 years of age, Ham­dan noted, adding that in­creas­ing rate in the num­ber of refugees could cause a “se­ri­ous hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis.” In So­ma­lia, mi­gra­tions among peo­ple, un­til 2017, has reached some two mil­lion So­ma­lis, while in­ter­nally displacement coun­try has come to some 1.9 mil­lion So­ma­lis, she said.

In Ye­men, around three mil­lion peo­ple, un­til 2017, have mi­grated their cities and towns due to armed con­flicts and famine, adding that one mil­lion Ye­me­nis have re­turned to their homes amid con­tin­ued risky sit­u­a­tions.

Fur­ther­more, over 1.8 mil­lion peo­ple, in­clud­ing one mil­lion chil­dren, in South Su­dan have mi­grated their coun­try to Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Congo, and Cen­tral Africa, seek­ing safety and se­cu­rity, said the UN of­fi­cial.

In Syria, Ham­dan said that over five mil­lion Syr­i­ans have sought refuge in a num­ber of coun­tries in the Mid­dle East, Europe, Canada, US, and Aus­tralia, adding that the num­ber of in­ter­nally dis­placed per­sons, un­til 2017, rose to 6.5 mil­lion, in­clud­ing 2.8 mil­lion chil­dren.

In World Refugee Day, UNHCR com­mem­o­rates the strength, courage, and per­se­ver­ance of mil­lions of refugees, she noted, adding that this year; World Refugee Day also marks a key mo­ment for the pub­lic to show sup­port for fam­i­lies forced to flee.

The UNHCR, also known as the UN Refugee Agency, was es­tab­lished on Dec 14, 1950 by the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly.

The UN agency is man­dated to lead and co­or­di­nate in­ter­na­tional ac­tion to pro­tect refugees and re­solve refugee prob­lems world­wide. Its pri­mary pur­pose is to safe­guard the rights and well­be­ing of refugees.

It also strives to en­sure that ev­ery­one can ex­er­cise the right to seek asy­lum and find safe refuge in another State, with the op­tion to re­turn home vol­un­tar­ily, in­te­grate lo­cally or to re­set­tle in a third coun­try. It also has a man­date to help state­less peo­ple.

UNHCR pro­vides in­ter­na­tional pro­tec­tion to refugees who do not en­joy the pro­tec­tion of their govern­ments.

KUNA photo

Head of UN High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees of­fice in Kuwait, Dr Hanan

Ham­dan, while talk­ing to KUNA

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