World Refugee Day 2017

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As the world reflects on the global refugee crisis on World Refugee Day, there must be praise where it is due but also an increased focus on better cooperation globally.

Kuwait is an example of a country which has shone as a leading nation, not only in the Middle East but all over the world, to aid the Syrian refugee crisis. Led by His Highness the Amir, Kuwait has shown pioneering humanitarian efforts.

One example of recent efforts by the tiny nation was the announcement in April 2017 that the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) has signed an agreement worth US$10 million to improve the living conditions of Syrian refugees in northern Iraq.

This donation will have substantial impact on the water, health, sanitation, shelter conditions and access to education of nearly 100,000 Syrian refugees.

More importantly, it is a small indication of much greater Kuwaiti giving. For instance, at the latest Brussels Conference on Supporting the future of Syria, HH the Amir of Kuwait and his government committed $100 million for 2017 and another $100 million for 2018.

The excerpt below from The Amir of Humanity book highlights the significant support that Kuwait has provided to the Syrian people since 2011.

Sheikh Sabah detected the clenching of the so-called ‘iron fist’ of the Syrian regime, and he realised that the consequences would be appalling and long-lasting.

Their natural reflex for humanitarian action ensured that Kuwaitis were some of the first to reach out to their suffering Arab brothers in Syria, and offer aid. In February 2012 the Kuwaiti Red Cross Society confirmed that it was coordinating with the Red Cross societies of several other countries, in an effort to deliver relief to those stricken by the conflict. Food, blankets, clothes and iftar meals in Ramadan were some of the first items to be volunteers by everyday Kuwaitis.

That moral leadership became tangible in March 2012, when Sheikh Sabah announced a donation of $5m in his name and that of the Al-Sabah family, to a relief campaign launched by the International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO). The campaign eventually raised more than $11.75m, and the IICO announced in December that the ruler has ordered the Kuwaiti Cabinet to earmark another $5m for relief and health and education programmes in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.

Donations by the IICO totalled more than $30m in 2011 and 2012, a level of generosity that charitable leaders attributed almost exclusively to the example set by the Amir.

Of late The Amir has also taken a prominent peace-making role on the international stage, with continuing attempts to broker peace in Yemen, and between Saudi, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt and Qatar.

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