UNHCR Calls On Kuwait To Assist Muslim Refugees


It is up to Kuwait’s leadership to "define its level of support," Guterres told a press conference, saying he had seen "positive indications" following meetings with the Kuwaiti leadership.

The commissioner had met earlier today with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

He said he was not here to ask for financial support, but for a "humanitarian partnership". However, he was sure Kuwait’s "generosity will translate to meaningful support." The commissioner also hoped Kuwait would actively participate in the conference grouping the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and UNHCR.

The OIC-UNHCR "Conference on the Problem of Refugees in the Muslim World" will be held in Islamabad this April.

Of the world’s nine million refugees, five million are Muslim, he noted.

Guterres spoke of the 1.8 million internally displaced Iraqis and another two million outside the country.

"The bulk of the burden is being suffered by the Syrians and the Jordanians, " Guterres said. They are host to about one million refugees each.

Overcrowding of Iraqi refugees has affected Syria and Jordan’s ability to provide basic services such as education and health care, and has also affected such aspects as real estate prices, he said.

The commissioner stressed the need to express international solidarity to both the Iraqi people and the host countries.

The UNHCR has recently issued an appeal for USD 60 million to fund programs for Iraqi refugees and those internally displaced in Iraq.

Of the total amount, USD 40 million has been pledged but only USD 9.1 million received from Sweden, and the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund and its Iraq Trust Fund.

Regarding Afghani refugees being repatriated, Guterres said the UNHCR had already helped four million Afghanis return home; those returning have been a vital part of rebuilding their country.

The UNHCR believes that it is the best solution for refugees to go home when possible provided they leave voluntarily and are guaranteed safety and dignity, he said.

Guterres, who arrived in Kuwait on Monday from Saudi Arabia, will conclude his visit later today. He will be visiting Jordan and Syria.

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