Iraq re­build­ing con­fer­ence so­lid­i­fies lead­er­ship’s hu­man­i­tar­ian com­mit­ment

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

KUWAIT:

His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s ini­tia­tive to host the Iraq re­build­ing con­fer­ence have so­lid­i­fied Kuwait’s sta­tus as a global hu­man­i­tar­ian cen­ter and also high­lighted His High­ness Sheikh Sabah’s role as a world hu­man­i­tar­ian leader.

The an­nounce­ment, which came dur­ing a His High­ness the Amir phone call with Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haidar Al-Abadi, was con­sid­ered as a ges­ture to show­case Kuwait’s sol­i­dar­ity after the “his­toric vic­tory” on so-called Is­lamic State (IS) in Mosul. His High­ness the Amir con­grat­u­lated Al-Abadi on the vic­tory and hoped it would boost unity in Iraq.

His High­ness the Amir said that Kuwait was ready to host, be­fore end of this year, an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence for the re­con­struc­tion of ar­eas lib­er­ated in Iraq. Since in­de­pen­dence, the State of Kuwait has of­fered ro­bust sup­port to the re­lief ef­fort for the refugees and the in­ter­nally-dis­placed peo­ple around the globe, a step earn­ing global praise.

Kuwait’s hu­man­i­tar­ian pol­icy is dis­tin­guished for its non-dis­crim­i­na­tion among aid re­cip­i­ents be­cause of their race, na­tion­al­ity, faith or po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions. The coun­try has been known for its re­lief ef­fort and this role be­came more crys­tal clear in the re­cent year which en­cour­aged the United Na­tions in 2014 to honor His High­ness the Amir as Hu­man­i­tar­ian Leader and Kuwait as cen­ter of hu­man­i­tar­ian ac­tion.

Im­pres­sive pres­ence

Kuwait main­tained its im­pres­sive pres­ence at all re­gional and in­ter­na­tional ac­tiv­i­ties and fo­rums re­lat­ing to hu­man­i­tar­ian ac­tion and al­le­vi­a­tion of the suf­fer­ing of con­flict-hit peo­ple. In May of 2016, His High­ness the Amir took part and de­liv­ered a speech to the World Hu­man­i­tar­ian Sum­mit in Is­tan­bul, Turkey.

In his speech, His High­ness the Amir said: “Kuwait has long been ac­claimed for its deep be­lief in hu­man­i­tar­ian val­ues and help­ing hand for the needy peo­ple. “The to­tal value of Kuwait’s con­tri­bu­tions to the re­lief ef­fort in the last five years ex­ceeded $2 bil­lion, which made the coun­try the world’s big­gest aid donor in terms of the ra­tio of aid to the coun­try’s GDP,” he pointed out. Kuwait’s hu­man­i­tar­ian role is shared by the gov­ern­ment and civil so­ci­ety in­sti­tu­tions such as Kuwait Red Cres­cent So­ci­ety (KRCS) and the In­ter­na­tional Is­lamic Char­i­ta­ble Or­ga­ni­za­tion (IICO).

The Kuwaiti fund-rais­ing agen­cies re­sponded promptly to the needs of refugees and dis­placed peo­ple in coun­tries that were hit by armed con­flicts or nat­u­ral dis­as­ters. Their aid cam­paigns ranged be­tween famine re­lief, med­i­cal sup­plies, and educational, health and hous­ing ser­vices in­side the refugee camps. Fol­low­ing are ex­am­ples, in part and in ef­fect, of Kuwait’s con­tri­bu­tions to the re­lief ef­forts.

For Pales­tine, His High­ness the Amir an­nounced in Jan­uary, 2009, a Kuwaiti do­na­tion of $34 mil­lion to the hu­man­i­tar­ian ac­tiv­i­ties for the Pales­tinian peo­ple in re­sponse to an ap­peal by the UN Re­lief and Works Agency for Pales­tine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Be­sides, Kuwait con­trib­uted $15 mil­lion to the Agency in 2013 and launched an aid cam­paign for Gaza Strip in 2014 in the wake of the Is­raeli ag­gres­sion in July. In the af­ter­math of Iraq war in 2003, Kuwait of­fered emer­gency re­lief for the in­ter­nal­ly­dis­placed peo­ple; the aid con­tin­ued to in­crease un­til it hit $200 mil­lion in 2015 which made Kuwait the big­gest aid donor for Iraq. Kuwait pledged $176 mil­lion dur­ing an Iraqi aid con­fer­ence held in Wash­ing­ton.

Syria

As for Syria, Kuwait hosted three in­ter­na­tional hu­man­i­tar­ian pledg­ing con­fer­ences, the first of which took place in Jan­uary, 2013, when His High­ness the Amir do­nated $300 mil­lion. The sec­ond con­fer­ence in the fol­low­ing saw the Kuwaiti aid pledges ris­ing to $500 mil­lion and in the third, held in March, 2015, Kuwait con­trib­uted ad­di­tional $500 mil­lion.

The State of Kuwait was also present in fourth sim­i­lar gath­er­ing ti­tled “Sup­port­ing Syria and the Re­gion Con­fer­ence,” in Lon­don, last Feb­ru­ary. His High­ness the Amir an­nounced ad­di­tional aid of $300 mil­lion for the Syr­ian refugees over the com­ing three years. Re­gard­ing Yemen, Kuwait con­trib­uted $100 mil­lion to the hu­man­i­tar­ian ac­tion in re­sponse to the rag­ing con­flict last year.

As for re­sponse to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, Kuwaiti fund-rais­ing agen­cies, no­tably the Direct Aid and the Zakat House, scaled up their ef­forts to al­le­vi­ate the suf­fer­ing of the drought-hit So­ma­lis in 2012. The aid they of­fered amounted to KD 508,600 (nearly $1.69 mil­lion).

In Novem­ber of 2007, when the trop­i­cal Cy­clone Sidr hit Bangladesh and left nearly 3,447 deaths, Kuwait do­nated $10 mil­lion to the emer­gency aid cam­paign for the coun­try. It is self-ev­i­dent that Kuwait pro­vides a good ex­am­ple for other rich coun­tries to fol­low. While the World Refugee Day is be­ing cel­e­brated this year, the UN aid agen­cies es­ti­mate the num­ber of refugees and in­ter­nally-dis­placed per­sons at 60 mil­lion world­wide. —KUNA

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