Doha – HE Kelly Clements , Deputy High Commissioner (UNHCR) has noted that the focus of the Doha 2017 Forum on refugee issues in the topics to be discussed at this important international meeting was timely, given the increasing number of refugees around the world, especially in the Middle East and North Africa.

Speaking to Qatar News Agency (QNA) on the sidelines of her participation in the Doha Forum, HE Kelly Clements said that Qatar’s interest in refugee issues stems mainly from its keenness to resolve urgent humanitarian issues and address crises that directly affect the lives of millions of people.

The number of refugees around the world is increasing as a result of conflicts, wars and crises, with more than 65 million refugees, 40 per cent of them in the East and North Africa region alone, and it is therefore important that the Doha Forum shed light on this issue in an area of increasing numbers of refugees and the consequent humanitarian needs, she added.

In this context, the international official underlined the support and efforts of the State of Qatar to resolve many humanitarian crises and said that it is a well-established tradition in the Qatari policy, which has provided all kinds of assistance and support to refugees in many places in the world, as well as its diplomatic efforts that led to political solutions to many crises .

She pointed out that the State of Qatar organizing the Doha Forum and hosting hundreds of decision-makers, officials, academic experts and policy makers to discuss possible political solutions to refugee issues comes within the framework of the role played by Qatar in this regard, which is certainly influential on the human level.

She explained that UNHCR, through its participation in the Doha Forum, affirms that solutions to humanitarian issues, especially the refugee issue, are always political solutions. It is therefore important that humanitarian organizations and decision makers meet in these forums to focus on this aspect in order to solve many challenges that faces refugee resettlement, she added.

She also pointed out that the High Commissioner wishes to emphasize through the Doha Forum the importance of responding specifically to the needs of the refugees as well as the requirements and needs of the host countries, especially as there are refugees who have been staying for more than 20 years, and so new solutions must therefore be found for refugees through the use of their potential in employment and production in the countries of asylum.

She stressed that the issue of refugees is not a responsibility of an organization or a specific body but the responsibility of the international community as a whole and that there must be an international response to the needs of the refugees and the requirements of the host countries. She commended in this regard the efforts of many countries of the world to host refugees to along with other countries’ aid to those forced by war and crisis to leave their homes.

A conference held in New York last September discussed the importance of an international response to a more innovative response to refugee issues, which means providing them with greater space in host countries, providing job opportunities for them and integrating children into schools, all of which require constant consultation with the countries concerned, she said.

She added that there are real steps that have already begun in this regard, where many Syrian refugees in Jordan have had access to employment, which is of economic benefit to them and to the surrounding in which they live, and thus there are steps already taken, including ongoing consultations by the High Commissioner to seek more solutions to the region’s stability.

On the other challenges facing the refugee issue, Ms. Clements pointed out that the problem was that most of the host countries of the region were developing countries and were in need of assistance, adding that UNHCR was in constant consultation with several development organizations such as the United Nations Development Program and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to find developmental solutions for refugees and their host countries so that they can withstand more until the crises that have led refugees out of their homes have ended.

She pointed to other solutions, such as resettlement of refugees in other more developed countries where a ministerial meeting was held in March that discussed this issue in particular, as well as finding alternative ways to shoulder the burden on developing countries currently hosting refugees, adding that there are opportunities for resettlement of refugees in new countries.

With regard to the increase in the number of refugees in the region and whether this affects UNHCR assistance around the world, Ms. Clement said there are many humanitarian crises related to the issue of asylum around the world, constituting a major challenge that requires international involvement and concerted efforts.

She noted that the humanitarian needs of the refugees in the year 2017 estimated at $7.5 billion and that 40 percent of these needs were in the Middle East and North Africa alone, where the UNHCR works in 126 countries around the world and cooperate with 200 partners in this area saying that last year, UNHCR provided about $ 4 billion in aid to refugees around the world. (QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency