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Saudi Arabia

Kingdom slams racism against Muslim refugees

NEW YORK: The Kingdom has drawn the world’s attention again to the racist and inhuman rhetoric against Muslim refugees.
It also called on all countries and humanitarian agencies, civil society organizations and the media to abandon any racist speeches and contribute to raising awareness and responsibility in order to boost protection for refugees who are fleeing brutal regimes and terrorist groups.
“We are facing an unprecedented humanitarian disaster since the Second World War as the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) confirms that there are nearly 20 million refugees and 40 million displaced people, numbers that are increasing every day amid a lack of funding and the absence of appropriate mechanisms for protection,” said Saad bin Abdullah Al-Saad, deputy permanent representative of the Saudi delegation to the UN.
The diplomat was addressing a meeting of the UN General Assembly on “Global awareness of the tragedies of irregular migrants in the Mediterranean basin, with specific emphasis on Syrian asylum seekers.”
The Syrian crisis is the biggest humanitarian tragedy of the 20th century, he pointed out.
The diplomat also said that Saudi Arabia has received 2.5 million Syrian refugees since the beginning of the Syrian crisis. It did not treat them as refugees or put them in refugee camps in order to preserve their dignity and safety.
It gave them complete freedom of movement, and awarded those who wanted to stay in the Kingdom legal residence like the rest of expatriates with all consequent rights to free health care, work and education.
The number of Syrian students receiving free education totaled more than 100,000, he said.
“Saudi efforts have not been confined to receiving and hosting the Syrian brothers after their humanitarian tragedy in their country, but extended to include support and care for millions of Syrian refugees in their country’s neighbors, Jordan, Lebanon and other states,” he added.
The efforts included providing humanitarian assistance in coordination with the governments of their host countries, as well as with international humanitarian relief organizations, whether through financial or in-kind support, he said.
“The number of forced refugees and displaced people is more than half of Syria’s population as the number of forced refugees reached more than four million people, according to the UNHCR and the number of the displaced exceeded seven and a half million people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs,” said the diplomat.
“Syrian refugees fleeing to neighboring countries have been a major challenge in trying to meet the basic needs of the refugees, provision of shelter, education and health care in order to preserve the dignity of refugees and ensure their protection,” said the envoy.
Al-Saad explained that the value of the humanitarian assistance provided by Saudi Arabia for Syrians amounted to about $ 700 million, according to statistics of the third International Donors Conference held in Kuwait on March 31
The humanitarian aid also included providing food, health, residential and educational services, as well as the establishment of Saudi specialist clinics in various refugee camps most important of which is Al-Za’tari refugee camp in Jordan and in the border crossings refugee camps as these specialized clinics were able to provide all kinds of vaccines, preventive treatments, medical care and surgical procedures.
The Kingdom also paid for other campaigns to accommodate a large number of special humanitarian cases of Syrian families in both Lebanon and Syria.
The diplomat stressed that concrete steps must be taken to address this humanitarian disaster — and not just words of sympathy and expressions of concern.
“We must not allow fear from the risk of terrorist attacks and the escalation of racist rhetoric to make us lose the spirit of solidarity with refugees.”

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