Speech by His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jabir Al Sabah
during his presidency over leader’s summit to discuss the situation of refugees
– United Nations Headquarters in New York – Tuesday 20 September 2016.
In The Name of Allah
His Excellency Barak Obama President of the United States of America,
Peace Be Upon You All,
I am pleased, at the outset, to extend my thanks and appreciation to His Excellency Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, and to the sponsoring countries on their call for the holding of this important meeting. We commend the great efforts that have been made to prepare for it.
The convening of this important meeting took place as a dignified gesture which reflects the high international interest in alleviating the suffering of refugees and displaced persons around the world, particularly after their number reached sixty-five million refugees, according to UN statistics.
Here we must praise the refugees’ hosting countries for hosting large numbers of them, and baring increasingly economic burdens. On the other hand, the persistence of such commitments would weaken our ability to fulfill our humanitarian and developmental role.
We recognize that the humanitarian disaster of our world today requires concerted efforts from the international community to confront them through working to end conflicts, manifestations of death and destruction that have become obvious and are a daily scene.
Kuwait has recognized its humanitarian duty in both regional and international surroundings, and sought to provide assistance bilaterally and internationally to mitigate the effects of natural disasters and crises, either directly to the affected countries, through the appropriate international agencies, or by organizing and hosting several conferences for donors. The total amount provided by the state of Kuwait during the last five years exceeded two billion dollars in support of refugee situations where it proceeded in financing of educational and health programs for the children of refugees and displaced people in their host countries for the first year. Kuwait decided to allocate five million dollars of the said amount for educational programs of UNRWA. In addition, the State of Kuwait recently pledged one hundred seventy six million dollars to support the Iraqi refugees and displaced, as it started in the financing of health, educational and relief projects through the United Nations humanitarian organizations and the Kuwaiti charities.
The contribution of the State of Kuwait to mitigate the humanitarian disaster in Syria was not only limited to providing financial aid, but exceeded this to hosting more than one hundred thirty thousand Syrians since the beginning of the crisis, which represents ten percent of the total population of Kuwaiti citizens numbering one million and three hundred thousand citizens, to get them reunited with their relatives who live in Kuwait, numbering a hundred and fifty three thousand Syrians. The State of Kuwait will not give up on this approach, and will continue to seek to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.
My country also doubled its fixed annual contributions to a number of agencies and international organizations, which are concerned with the Status of Refugees, which ranks Kuwait in the first places among others, when comparing the amount of aid provided with the level of the national income.
From this rostrum,
I would like to emphasize that my country will continue its human obligations, and its support for the international community in alleviating human suffering resulting from devastating conflicts.
I reiterate my thanks to you all, wishing our meeting all success.
Peace be upon you all.