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UAE calls for coordination of international humanitarian work

posted on 18/11/2005: 617 views

New York - The UAE has called for the implementation of the recommendations made during international conferences held to address the waves of natural disasters which hit various parts of the world in recent times. It also called for the implementation of a comprehensive global strategy to deal with such phenomenon at all its various stages - from early warning to relief supplies stages.

The statement was made in a UAE address delivered by the UAE Permanent Ambassador to the UN, Abdul Aziz bin Nasir Al Shamsi, during a special UN General Assembly meeting held here last night to discuss the issue of boosting coordination in humanitarian and relief assistance being delivered by the UN during disasters.

Al Shamsi stressed on the need to take the necessary effective measures to help poor countries to strengthen their institutional capabilities in order to be able to face squarely natural disasters and the repercussions of war. He urged donor countries to increase their contributions for the financing of relief and humanitarian assistance to reflect the true meaning of humanitarian solidarity.

He reiterated the need to take proactive approach and action in resolving conflicts, resolve the causes of armed conflicts in view of the humanitarian disasters the latter has been causing in various parts of the world.

He pointed out that the volume of destructions and casualties caused by the natural disasters that hit various parts of the world in recent times was unprecedented. "The heavy destruction, whether in developing or developed countries, had proven two facts: First, it has shown that the developing countries are not prepared to face natural disasters and, accordingly, the resulting damage is considerably high and recovery efforts from the devastating impact of those disasters are slow.

The second fact is that countries, regardless of their capabilities, need each other, and, hence, international cooperation is considered the safest and most suitable means for protecting humanity from natural disasters and from the disputes and conflicts arising among individuals or nations," he said and expressed deep appreciation for the work done by the United Nations and its personnel working in the field of delivering relief and humanitarian assistance to the affected areas of those disasters.

He underlined the principal role of the United Nations in strengthening and coordinating long-range humanitarian and relief assistance to affected countries. "In the meantime, we affirm the importance of implementing the recommendations of international conferences on international coordination in facing disasters, which call for the application of an international strategy that deals with natural disasters at all stages, from early warning to relief, reconstruction and development. This international strategy must include the necessary measures required for helping poor countries to build their institutional capabilities and face the consequences of natural disasters and wars," he said.

"In this regard, we urge donor countries and international financing institutions to increase their contributions in order to fund humanitarian and relief activities in fulfilment of the principles of international solidarity and interdependence, and the United Nations Charter.

On the other hand, we emphasize the importance of settling disputes among nations and eliminating causes of armed conflicts, which have caused humanitarian disasters, by means of strengthening the authority and role of international law.

He said the UAE is one of the largest contributors to relief assistance activities in the world, adding that his country had effectively participated in regional and international efforts aimed at providing humanitarian and emergency relief assistance to all regions of the world.

"This included providing contributions to UN humanitarian and development assistance agencies, and extending financial and in-kind assistance to the countries affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts and for assisting in the operations of rehabilitation and reconstruction," he said, adding that the UAE had contributed in this regard more than USUS$5 million in just 2004 and 2005 through the UAE Government and the UAE Red Crescent Society, citing beneficiaries of this fund as including the reconstruction operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and some Palestinian cities and for finalizing the fifth stage of the Emirates Solidarity Program for mine clearance in South Lebanon, which was completed in May 2004, and resulted in removal of 61829 mines in an area of 4 million square meters.

He said the UAE Government had also assisted the victims of natural disasters in Iran and other countries in South East Asia affected by the Tsunami, as well as the victims of the hurricane Katrina and the recent earthquake in India and Pakistan, adding that the Government had also extended direct development assistance to many developing countries through its national organizations, such as the Abu Dhabi Development Fund, which provided financial assistance totalling US$5 billion dollars to 56 countries in the form of easy loans and grants.

"The UAE Red Crescent Society, which is the largest non-governmental charity agency in the country engaged in providing relief and foreign assistance, has extended a total assistance of 340 million dollars during the last year to 95 countries, including those affected by or recovering from conflicts. The Society has also funded projects for reconstructing some Palestinian cities in the occupied territories for a total amount of 122 million dollars," he said.

"As part of its efforts aimed at coordinating humanitarian and relief assistance in the world, the Government established Dubai Relief City for the provision of integrated services and facilities to national and international humanitarian organizations, and which has recently launched a supply warehouse for humanitarian assistance in Dubai which is used for storing American relief assistance material needed to be delivered to the affected and needy areas," he added.

He said following the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, and the evacuation of some settlements in the West Bank, the international community expected to see some improvement in the tragic humanitarian conditions of the Palestinians. "Nevertheless, two months after the Israeli pull-out, the condition of the Palestinians has worsened and deteriorated due to the continuing control of the Israeli forces on borders and trade points in the Palestinian cities, as well as closures and imposing of restrictions on the movement of the Palestinian people," he said.

"Moreover, the continuing attacks on Palestinian citizens and their properties, Israel's collective punishment policy and extrajudicial killings have resulted in the death of more than 4,000 innocent civilians while thousand more have been injured and rendered disabled. On the other hand, the continuation of building the illegal expansionist wall has resulted in the confiscation of additional Palestinian lands, the destruction of water wells, and the increase of internally displaced persons," he said, adding that aforementioned ill-practices by Israel had led to huge losses in the Palestinian Economy, an increase of Palestinian civilians who live under the poverty line, and the spread of malnutrition among large numbers of children.

He cited international reports, that said the international humanitarian assistance being provided to the Palestinians in the occupied territories were not sufficient to alleviate their sufferings, unless the Israeli occupation is completely ended, and an independent and viable Palestinian State is established.

"Therefore, we call upon the international community to force Israel to immediately stop its attacks against the civilians, and to end its policy of closures and siege," he said.

He said Israel must be called to order to stop and dismantle the constructed part of the illegal expansionist wall in fulfillment of the international legitimate resolutions and according to the principals of international humanitarian law, including the Forth Geneva Convention and the instruments of the human rights, and to withdraw from all Arab territories occupied since 1967, in accordance with the relevant international resolutions.

The UAE Ambassador repeated his country's call to donor countries and international financial institutions to continue providing necessary assistance to the Palestinian people until the Palestinian occupied territories are liberated, and an independent Palestinian State is established with Jerusalem as its capital. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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