NEW YORK: HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Tuesday delivered a speech at the Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis, hosted by US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly. He started by thanking Obama and other co-hosts of the summit for their efforts to lobby for a galvanized global response to the refugee crisis and increased funding for aid programs.
“This important summit sends a kind signal about a global interest in alleviating the suffering of 65 million refugees and migrants worldwide,” HH the Amir said, citing UN figures. “We have to appreciate the countries that host huge numbers of refugees despite the mounting economic hardships and the strains put on their abilities to meet their humanitarian and development obligations. We realize the fact that the humanitarian crisis facing the world today requires concerted efforts by the international community to end recurrent armed conflicts, bloodshed and destruction,” he stressed.
“My country discharges its humanitarian duty within the regional and international spheres and works with other parties, bilaterally and multilaterally, to alleviate the toll of disasters, whether natural and man-made,” the Amir pointed out.
“We coordinate with crisis-hit countries directly or through the UN aid agencies to organize and host donor conferences. The total volume of donations contributed by Kuwait to the refugee-oriented aid program over the last five years hit $5 billion, including $300 million committed at the Supporting Syria Conference (held in London in early Feb 2016). This funding helped finance educational and healthcare programs for child refugees in refugee hosting countries,” he said, noting that the Kuwait allocated $5 million of the donations to UNRWA’s educational programs.
“Besides, Kuwait donated $167 million to Kuwaiti and UN aid agencies to finance health and educational programs for Iraqi refugees and internally-displaced persons. Kuwait’s response to the humanitarian needs of our brothers in Syria exceeded the material assistance with the hosting of more than 130,000 Syrian refugees since the outbreak of the crisis. This figure, representing nearly 10 percent of the total population of Kuwaitis at 1.3 million people, enabled family reunions between the Syrian refugees and their family members residing in Kuwait,” HH the Amir said.
“Kuwait will continue this approach to alleviating the suffering of the brotherly people of Syria. It doubled its annual voluntary contributions to UN aid agencies, thus dominating the first place in terms of the ratio of aid to GDP,” the Amir vowed. “I’d like to reaffirm my country’s commitment to continue its humanitarian obligations and galvanize the global response to humanitarian disasters,” he stressed. Concluding, Sheikh Sabah wished the summit success in reaching its targets and increasing funding for humanitarian appeals. – KUNA