UAE to Receive 15,000 Syrian Refugees in the Next Five Years

Syrian refugee children ride on a donkey-drawn cart in the Al-Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, Jordan, near the border with Syria September 17, 2016. The UAE on September 22 announced that it is to welcome 15,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

NEW YORK: The UAE has announced that it is to welcome 15,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years with the aim of sharing in the responsibility of addressing the Syrian refugee crisis, local media reported.

Speaking at the “Leaders’ Summit on Refugees” at the UN headquarters, Reem Ebrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation, said: “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.”

Al Hashemi said the summit comes at a “critical time”, when “the number of refugees and displaced persons is the largest in modern history.”

“What brings us together today, is our collective commitment to strengthening international cooperation and action, through a comprehensive approach to refugee crises.”

Al Hashemi reiterated UAE’s commitment to the “humanitarian efforts of regional and international organisations.”

Over the last five years, the UAE has provided more than US$750 million to support Syrian refugees. On September 20, the Emirates Red Crescent announced that it will welcome Syrian refugees at one of the two camps it is setting up in Greece.

The UAE has reportedly contributed more than 1 percent of its GNI annually to foreign aid in the last three years, putting the gulf state among the top donors globally.

“This is an important step forward, which must be complemented by a dedication to preventing wars and conflicts, currently the main drivers of forced migration. We all must do our part to engage in dialogue, resolve differences and support global pillars of peace and stability. 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,” Al Hashemi stated.

Al Hashemi also added that the UAE is “looking to address” other important but neglected services like rehabilitation, education in emergencies, cash for food and work, vocational training, and care for those with mental illnesses.



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