Saudi Arabia — When figures speak for themselves
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif’s speech at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on Monday highlighted the Kingdom’s role in supporting refugees.
The $139 billion relief assistance given by Saudi Arabia over the past four decades made the Kingdom the third biggest donor to the cause of refugees globally.
Saudi Arabia has received 2.5 million Syrian refugees and granted them residency and jobs; more importantly, it gives free education to more than 141,000 Syrian students.
Saudi Arabia considers refugees residents of the country, and makes job and study opportunities available for them, quite unlike the way they are treated in most Western countries.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia received more than half a million Yemenis, whom it considers visitors and provides free education to 285,000 Yemeni students.
The Kingdom treats refugees as temporary residents who will return to their countries of origin once peace and security are restored.
It exerts all these efforts to help refugees and grants donations as some countries stir problems and incite wars whose outcome is more refugees.
As such, to address the problem of refugees, the world must treat the root causes — war, conflict, poverty and marginalization.
The crown prince made it clear that the key to tackling these crises is intensified efforts to resolve the conflicts in the world, according to the UN Charter, and using diplomacy to prevent the crises from escalating.
This is what the international community should have done in Syria. Instead, it fanned the flames of conflict and allowed a war to ravage the country, turn people into refugees and Syria into a breeding ground for extremists — a scenario that Saudi Arabia had warned against since the beginning of the conflict.
The Kingdom focused on intensifying preventive diplomacy, but lacked the support of the international community right from the beginning of the crisis in Syria.
Granting humanitarian aid and support for refugees is a top political priority for Saudi Arabia. It is what really defines Saudi Arabia’s political and humanitarian efforts at all times.