United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative to Iraq and formerly to Yemen, Jean-Nicolas Boise, concluding his first visit to Kuwait, highlighted the importance of continued support and solidarity with Syrian refugees and displaced persons in light of the increasing humanitarian needs, specifically the refugees in Iraq.
During the two-day visit Mr. Boise thanked Kuwait for its support to the Commission and noted: “Our partnership with the government of the State of Kuwait and the private and charitable sectors is a strategic partnership based on the foundations and values of humanity. Kuwait has always been a forerunner in extending a helping hand to those in dire need, and its humanitarian role is required and essential to confront developments and enormous humanitarian needs around the world.”
He pointed out that Kuwait has provided protection and assistance to the forcibly displaced, with its total contributions amounted to more than $435 million, mostly focused on the Syrian and Yemeni humanitarian situation. He also revealed that a donors’ conference for Syrian refugees will be held on the 7 April, noting that Kuwait will be participating with a high-level delegation.
Clarifying on the mechanism for distributing donations, aid and zakat and ensuring that they reach their beneficiaries in an unstable country like Iraq, he said we have clear mechanisms to monitor and monitor the disbursement of funds to ensure that they reach their beneficiaries, noting that UNHCR needs $350 million to meet the needs of the 300,000 Syrian refugees in Kurdistan.
For her part the UNHCR Representative in Kuwait, Nasreen Rabiean, confirmed that the visit by Boise aims to express thanks and appreciation to the government of Kuwait and the private sector for the humanitarian support provided through the Commission over the years. She noted that during the High-level donors’ conference announcing pledges for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen 2022 held last week, Kuwait was the only country in the Gulf Cooperation Council to announce its $10 million contribution as part of a multi-year pledge announced earlier in 2021.
Appreciating the efforts of Kuwait in assisting the UNHCR to undertake humanitarian and development relief work in the region, Ms. Rabiean added that there are still more than 13 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection in Syria, including about seven million internally displaced people, and around seven million Syrian refugees around the world, most of whom are hosted in the countries surrounding Syria, such as Jordan and Iraq.
She thanked Kuwait and all partners for their belief in the importance of humanitarian work and their support for refugees and displaced persons through UNHCR projects.
Regarding the UNHCR’s strategy towards the Ukrainian crisis and the consequent increase in refugee numbers, she said we thank Kuwait for donating $2 million to Ukrainian refugees, in addition to the in-kind donations provided by the Kuwaiti Red Crescent, which is estimated at 32 tons of aid for Ukrainian refugees in Poland.
Pointing out that the number of Ukrainian refugees has exceeded 3.5 million, she added that the crisis is in its infancy and if there is an acceleration in events it could lead to an increase in the number of refugees, which would then require an increase in the volume of emergency aid. She expressed her hope that the Ukrainian crisis would not marginalize other crises of refugees from Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Iraq.