‘Region needs to unite to turn the tide on humanitarian crisis’: Manama dialogue

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The President of the Red Cross made a call-to-action to unite all countries in the Middle East to collectively “turn the tide” on escalating humanitarian crisis during a speech at the IISS Manama dialogue on Saturday.

Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said multiple conflicts in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Syria was a “death by a thousand cuts” to the region – with the crisis further severely impacted by COVID-19 and the pandemic leading to further neglect of critical pre-existing issues such as a lack of childhood vaccinations and mental health support.

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“We need a renewed and re-energized partnerships with all countries in the region to work together to turn the tide,” he said. “We need to break a vicious circle.”

A fragmentation of actions by global actors and marginalization and stigmatization of countries affected by war are among the chief factors that have prevented more success in helping those in conflict zones, he said.

“It has left many with a deep feeling of injustice and suffering. They are exhausted with the years of violence.”

“We need to re-imagine the approach on humanitarian work.”

He said the region had “enormous potential” to use innovation and digitalization to better tackle humanitarian crises across the Middle East.

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