HE Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to the State of Qatar Ahmed Mohsen affirmed that the strong and established partnership between the State of Qatar, its various institutions, and UNHCR, represents a beacon of hope for millions of refugees and internally displaced persons around the globe.
In an exclusive interview with Qatar News Agency , Mohsen expressed his hope for the continuation of this partnership that embodies a distinguished model of stable partnerships, to help refugees and forcibly displaced persons most in need around the globe, pointing out Qatar’s generous contributions to support UNHCR programs over the years. These contributions amounted to about one billion and QR 400 million, which helped provide education, health care, shelter, and promote economic development for millions of people around the globe, he added.
He noted that the State of Qatar’s contributions particularly focus on the sectors of education, shelter, health care, livelihood opportunities and material support, enabling it to provide a sustainable humanitarian response in various regions, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
Qatar cooperates with UNHCR in implementing various projects that benefit hundreds of thousands of people most in need, including Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and internally displaced people in Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and many other countries, Mohsen added.
The State of Qatar has been at the forefront of donor countries to UNHCR since 2019 through its generous contributions to support UNHCR’s efforts and initiatives aimed at responding to the humanitarian needs of communities suffering from asylum and forced displacement, he said, noting the establishment of the UN House in Doha, which hosts the offices of several UN agencies, including the Office of UNHCR, as part of Qatar’s continued support for the programs and initiatives of UN and its various agencies.
He stressed that the State of Qatar has continued its strong support over the years for diplomatic and humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan, especially its support for Afghan refugees and the countries hosting them, which culminated in its recent assumption of the presidency of the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees Support Platform (SSAR). SSAR constitutes a platform to support voluntary repatriation and sustainable reintegration, provide support to host communities and promote peaceful coexistence among them, he explained.
He noted that Qatar continues to stress the importance of strengthening regional initiatives that alleviate human suffering and facilitate policies and cooperative approaches aimed at facilitating the voluntary, safe, sustainable and dignified return of refugees and their integration into their countries of origin.
UNHCR Representative to Qatar commended the State of Qatar’s humanitarian efforts during the Afghan crisis in 2021 and its keenness to transport humanitarian aid by air and deliver tons of emergency supplies to support the most vulnerable displaced families in Afghanistan, pointing out that these efforts have supported UNHCR’s programs and missions in Afghanistan to help vulnerable Afghans adapt to the harsh conditions of winter.
Mohsen also said that Qatar continues to support UNHCR’s efforts in Afghanistan, noting that the total Qatari contributions to support the situation in Afghanistan have reached more than USD 5.6 million through supporting education for refugees and internally displaced persons, in-kind donations, flights, humanitarian aid and non-food items, in addition to supporting UNHCR’s efforts to provide financial assistance to many returning refugee families who are most in need.
HE UNHCR Representative to Qatar Ahmed Mohsen stressed that the commissioner faces several challenges in responding to the humanitarian and development needs of millions of displaced people and refugees around the globe and alleviating their suffering, explaining that these challenges include lack of funding, difficulty in reaching conflict-affected areas, security stability, and remote areas, as well as political, security, and logistic challenges. In his interview with QNA, Mohsen noted that, in order to overcome the challenges, UNHCR woks with many partners to mobilize sources of funding and strengthen and build effective partnerships with governments, organizations working in the humanitarian field as well as UN organizations, in addition to the private sector and individuals, with the aim of cooperating and coordinating efforts aimed at helping the most vulnerable people who are far from their homes. In response to a question about international issues and files concerned with refugees, which will be discussed at the meeting of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 78), UNHCR Representative to Qatar said that we live in a world in which millions of people are still forced to leave their homes to survive, due to wars, conflicts, persecution and the effects of climate change, indicating that the number of forcibly displaced people is estimated at more than 110 million people, including refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers and others in need of international protection. At the same time, many conflicts that are displacing millions of people remain without solutions in sight, preventing refugees and displaced persons from returning to their homes in safety and dignity, he added. Mohsen indicated that middle-income and low-income countries continue to host the vast majority of refugees while suffering from economic crises, and remain in need of more support to continue hosting them with generosity and open hearts. He pointed out the commissioner’s belief that addressing the global forced displacement crisis requires international cooperation to share responsibility in providing assistance and protection to forcibly displaced people and to work on finding sustainable solutions with the aim of achieving peace and stability, which is why UNGA’s annual meetings are an international platform and an opportunity to shed light on the humanitarian reality and research to find comprehensive solutions and mobilize support. On the refugee crisis in the Asia-Pacific region, Mohsen emphasized that the Asia-Pacific region faces many crises, such as the Afghan refugee crisis and the Rohingya refugee crisis, including those related to the effects of climate change, such as the response to the devastating floods that struck areas in Pakistan last year, affecting hundreds of thousands of refugees and host communities. In this regard, Mohsen pointed out that UNHCR supported the Pakistani government-led response effort and delivered more than 10,000 metric tons of aid including tents, solar lamps, plastic sheeting, hygiene kits and other relief items in less than four weeks, from its warehouses and suppliers in Pakistan, and from regional emergency stocks. In regard to Afghanistan, he noted that it is one of the countries with the largest and most critical humanitarian crises around the globe in light of the displacement crisis, local crises, and the fragility of the infrastructure. Residents and farmers suffer from drought, which increases levels of hunger and food shortages, he added, stressing the commissioner’s commitment -despite all these circumstances- to remain present and provide assistance to the internally displaced Afghans – whose number is estimated at about 3.5 million people, in terms of shelter, relief materials, infrastructure, and psychological and social support. As for the Rohingya refugee crisis, UNHCR Representative to Qatar said that their number is estimated at more than 960,000 people hosted by Bangladesh, where the humanitarian situation of refugees is deteriorating and their needs are increasing in light of the severe funding shortage. He pointed out that the commissioner works with its partners to enhance the livelihoods of refugees and provide assistance, develop skills, and build capacities among refugees to enhance self-reliance, improve livelihood opportunities for them as well as host communities. HE UNHCR Representative to Qatar Ahmed Mohsen concluded his interview with QNA by addressing the development projects provided by UNHCR for refugees. In cooperation with its partners, the commissioner works on enhancing the livelihoods of refugees and reducing their dependence on aid, in addition to helping them to contribute positively to the development of local economies in the countries they live in, Mohsen noted. Alongside its partners, UNHCR also works on enabling refugees, especially children and adolescents, to integrate into national education systems in countries of asylum, and to obtain scholarships and opportunities for higher education and vocation training, in order to improve their ability to live independently and build prosperous lives until they return to their countries of origin and participate in reconstruction of their countries – leading them to prosperity, he added.
Source: Qatar News Agency