Helping refugees a moral duty for world - GulfToday

Helping refugees a moral duty for world


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Global displacement is at a record high, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and this could only be seen as a blot on humanity.

As countries marked the World Refugee Day on Saturday, the situation on the ground reflected a grim reality.

Figures reached 79.5 million in 2019 underscoring the precarious situation facing millions of helpless people.

This is almost double the number of people in crisis registered a decade ago – owing to war, violence, persecution and other emergencies.

Ten million people had to flee their homes in the past year alone.

As UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi points out, this almost 80 million figure – the highest that UNHCR has recorded since these statistics have been systematically collected, is of course a reason for great concern. This is approximately one per cent of the world’s population.

Numerous emergencies old and new are behind the massive people flows, from Afghanistan to Central African Republic, to Myanmar, with hotspots including the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burkina Faso — and the wider Sahel — and the continuing fallout in Syria, after nearly a decade of civil war.

Since the global health crisis began, the UN agency has also reported an increase in the number of Rohingya Muslims moving from Bangladesh and Myanmar, towards Malaysia and other States in South East Asia.

For the first time, Venezuela’s 3.5 million displaced people feature in the UNHCR report, accounting in part for the significant rise, compared with the 2018-19 data.

Taking into account people forced to move multiple times as a net figure, the total displacement figure for 2019 is not 8.7 million, but 11 million.

Adding to the concern, many displaced populations failed to find long-lasting solutions for rebuilding their lives last year, with only 317,200 refugees able to return to their country of origin and only 107,800 resettled in third countries, as per UNHCR.

The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the plight of refugees.

COVID-19 is a health crisis that has had a huge impact on the global community and people on the move can be exposed to the virus in crowded conditions where health care, water and sanitation are often hard to find, and physical distancing is an impossible luxury.

COVID-19 is now also triggering a mental health crisis among refugees who are already facing challenging situations.

Benevolent UAE has always been in the forefront when it comes to lending a helping hand.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) Humanitarian Aid and Relief projects and programmes benefitted over 17 million people across the world with a total expenditure of Dhs262 million in 2019.

Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum marked this year’s World Refugee Day by ordering an aid flight to support the delivery of urgent humanitarian assistance from UNHCR to Burkina Faso.

A chartered cargo plane left Dubai International Airport for Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, this week with around 100 tonnes of aid, including 88 tonnes of core relief items from UNHCR.

The assistance includes 12 tonnes of COVID-19 aid made available by the World Health Organization (WHO), the global organisation at the forefront of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Improving and saving lives of millions of people forced to flee their homes is a moral responsibility for the world community.

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