UAE to accept 15,000 Syrian refugees within five years

Dubbing this as an ‘important step,’ Hashemi said ‘the UAE strongly supports the humanitarian efforts of regional and international organizations’

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The UAE will accept 15,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years, the Arab country’s Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Ebrahim Al-Hashemi said during Tuesday’s “Leaders’ Summit on Refugees” held at the UN headquarters in New York.

“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,” Hashemi said.

She added: “Since then, we have welcomed more than 123,000 Syrians.”

At the summit, Hashemi said “we meet at a critical time” as the number of refugees and displaced people “is the largest in modern history.”

“This crisis is being driven by a series of interlinked conflicts, fueled by extremism that crosses borders and transcends geographies,” she added. “However, what brings us together today, is our collective commitment to strengthening international cooperation and action, through a comprehensive approach to refugee crises.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said 4.8 million Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, and 6.6 million are internally displaced within Syria. Meanwhile, about one million have requested asylum to Europe.

Turkey takes the lion’s shares in terms of refugees where it is now home to 2.5 million Syrian refugees, Lebanon hosts about 1.1 million, Jordan 635,324, Iraq which already has more than three million displaced people is hosting 245,022 refugees from Syria and Egypt 117,658.

Dubbing this as an “important step,” Hashemi said “the UAE strongly supports the humanitarian efforts of regional and international organizations.”

The minister also said that UAE, over the past five years, has provided more than $750 million to support Syrian refugees, mainly in neighboring countries that are facing considerable pressure.

“The UAE believes that we must not just meet the basic needs of refugees, but that we also maintain their dignity and offer hope for their future,” she said.

“In refugee camps that the UAE has set up in Jordan, Northern Iraq, even in Greece, we provide the basic life-saving support such as shelter, food, basic health, water and sanitation. We are also looking to ¬address often neglected services like rehabilitation, ¬education in emergencies, cash for food and work, vocational training and care for those with mental illnesses.”

She also expressed her thanks and appreciation to US President Barack Obama for organizing the summit.

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