At the UN Refugee Summit, in New York, UAE Minister of state for international cooperation, Reem Ebrahim Al Hashemi, announced that UAE will be allowing 15,000 Syrian refugees into the Emirates over the course of the coming five years. “we must all do our part” she said.
Currenly, there are 250,000 Syrians residing in the United Arab Emirates but none of them are considered refugees, as they lead normal lives.
This decision has made UAE the fist GCC countries that has decided to allow asylum to Syrians with the status of refugees rather than residents. Singapore, Japan and South Korea are some of the courtiers that haven’t yet accepted any Syrian refugees.
Al Hashemi did’t get into the details about UAE’s plans of financially providing for the refugees but during her announcement she said “Ultimately, we must offer a source of hope for displaced persons that allows them to maintain dignity, return home, reintegrate themselves into their societies, and rebuild their countries and their lives,”. The Minister of state for international cooperation who is also the Director-General of Expo 2020, said “The UAE believes that we must not just meet the basic needs of refugees, but we also maintain their dignity and offer hope for their future”.
“Five years ago, before the Syrian crisis erupted, 115,000 Syrians lived and worked in the UAE, joining more than 200 different nationalities and ethnicities that make up the tapestry of our diverse society and whose active and significant contributions are a clear rebuttal to the global wave of xenophobia. Since then, we have welcomed more than 123,000 Syrians,”
“The number of refugees and displaced persons is the largest in modern history. This crisis is being driven by a series of interlinked conflicts, fueled by extremism that crosses borders and transcends geographies.”
Al Hashemi also said that people should “consider both near-term urgency and the tools for longer-term empowerment”.
H.E. Reem AlHashimi participates in the leaders summit on refugees held in the UN headquarters in Newyork. pic.twitter.com/1OgitORHH3
— Forsan UAE – English (@Forsan_UAE_EN) September 22, 2016
Her statement addresses the humanitarian and financial responsibilities fulfilled by UAE since the war in Syria had forced Syrian refugees to seek asylum in foreign counties, saying “Over the last five years, the UAE has provided more than US$750 million to support Syrian refugees, mainly in neighbouring countries that are facing considerable pressure.”
— UAE Mission to UN (@UAEMissionToUN) September 22, 2016
“The UAE believes that we must not just meet the basic needs of refugees, but we also maintain their dignity and offer hope for their future. In refugee camps that the UAE has set up in Jordan, Northern Iraq, even in Greece, we provide the basic life-saving support such as shelter, food, basic health, water, and sanitation. We are also looking to address often neglected services like rehabilitation, education in emergencies, cash for food and work, vocational training, and care for those with mental illnesses.”
She concluded her speech at the UN Refugee Summit by saying “The crisis of refugees and displaced persons, however, is not confined to the Middle East, it is a global phenomenon that requires the attention of the entire international community. The UAE is committed to working with you to find collective and effective solutions to prevent further escalation of the global refugee crisis.”
— UAE Mission to UN (@UAEMissionToUN) September 21, 2016
Ever since the conflict in Syria has begun, over five million Syrians have been registered or are waiting registration as refuges with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.