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Alleviate refugees suffering: Sheikha Fatima urges international community

posted on 20/06/2005: 773 views



Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Honorary Chairwoman of the UAE Red Crescent Society (RCS), expressed her concern over appalling conditions of refuges around the world.



In a statement to mark the World Refugee Day, which is celebrated today worldwide, Sheikha Fatima said that refugees' plight needed concerted efforts by the international community and further bolstering partnership between humanitarian organisations to improve their conditions and to highlight their issues.



"Standing by the refugees in their plight is a sacred duty dictated by our tolerant religion and our deep-rooted traditions. This duty transcends borders, nations and tongues. I feel sorrow for the suffering of women and children who were forced to seek refuge away from their homes. They are the ones who end up paying the hefty price and haunted by crises wherever they go," Sheikh Fatima said.



She underlined the UAE's role in helping and supporting refugees, saying that the country strongly supports refugees' voluntary return and re-settlement in their native places.



Sheikha Fatima also called for unifying efforts to ease refugees' suffering and to back UAE's initiatives in that regard, most prominent of which is the Fund for Refugee Women and Children (FRWC), which was set up on the her directives.



"We look forward to see the day where asylum is non existent and where current conflicts and turmoil in the different regions of the worlds, which are the main reasons that drive people to seek asylum, are all resolved." Sheikha Fatima lauded the role being played by the RCS in the help and rehabilitation of refugees. She added that the Society had contributed vigorously in assisting refugees by setting up camps in Bosnia, Afghanistan and other war-ravaged and catastrophe-hit areas.



She also praised the role of the United Nations United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) which is helping more than 22 million refugees around the world.



Sheikha Fatima announced in 2000 the establishment of FRWC and opened donations for the Fund with Dh1 million. She donated another million during a ceremony held in April 2001 by the UNHCR to decorate her with the Commission's Golden medal in appreciation of her support to the refugees.



In June 2003, the UNHCR and RCS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), outlining framework of cooperation to achieve FRWC's objectives. The total value of humanitarian programmes implemented by the RCS since 1994 amounted to Dh356.5 million.



According to Sanaa Darwish Al Kutbi, RCS Secretary General, bitter conflicts and natural calamities across the world prompted the RCS to join the world's efforts to alleviate sufferings of refugees. "We play a very vital role in supporting refugees, in keeping with the directives of President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and the unlimited support given by Sheikha Fatima and the close follow up of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs," she added.



Sanaa revealed that value of the RCS programmes to rehabilitate people who fled atrocities of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina reached Dhs. 102 million, in addition to Dh3.4 million spent to meet urgent needs of Kosovar refugees in Albania.



The RCS programme for Afghan refugees amounted to Dhs. 37.6 million, in addition to Dh15 million that constituted expenses of setting up a refugee camp in Pakistan.



Programmes to help Palestinian refugees included a project to rebuild Jenin camp at a cost of Dh100 million, the Emarati neighbourhood in Rafah at Dh78.3 million, besides programmes for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan at an estimated cost of Dh3.8 million.



In Sudan, a total amount of Dhs. 5.8 million was the value of programmes to help refugees and displaced people in Darfur region.



The RCS also implemented programmes for refugees and displaced in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Somalia, Yemen, Burma, Rwanda, Angola, Mali, Chechen, Sera Leon, Eritrea, Congo, Liberia and other West African nations. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)



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