Sharjah: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has said that the Sharjah award for refugees provides a valuable platform to showcase solidarity with displaced people.
“In the face of the upheaval and hardship that refugees and displaced people face, the Sharjah award provides a great support,” said Filippo Grandi in an interview. He said the Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support comes at the right time as the world is witnessing unprecedented levels of displacement globally, with over 65 million people forced to flee their homes, including some 21.3 million refugees.
Grandi also highlighted the importance of the Sharjah award in inspiring others to make a difference in the lives of refugees.
The award was launched early this year by Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Chairperson of the Big Heart Foundation. The aim is encourage the region’s peoples to show their solidarity and support for pressing humanitarian causes.
The award will be presented every year to a personality or entity that has contributed significantly to changing the lives of refugees and displaced families for the better. The winner will be honoured during a special ceremony to be held in Sharjah where they will receive a cash prize of $100,000 (Dh367,000), along with a trophy and certificate of appreciation.
Grandi praised the immense efforts of Shaikha Jawahar in alleviating the suffering of refugees and displaced persons in countries across the world.
He underlined Shaikha Jawaher’s efforts in establishing and supporting programmes that provide a brighter future for refugee children, making her one of the biggest supporters of global humanitarian work.
Grandi emphasised that Shaikha Jawaher’s dedication to refugees everywhere provides an example for other leaders and individuals across the world to provide greater support for displaced persons and to continue compassionate efforts to alleviate their suffering.
Grandi noted that the establishment of the Sharjah award comes at an important moment, as support and solidarity with refugees in this region is now needed more than ever.
“The Middle East hosts 39 per cent of the world’s forcibly displaced, including Syrian refugees who has surpassed five million in neighbouring countries, and over 250,000 Iraqi refugees in the region.
“This has significant consequences for the countries and communities hosting them, and an initiative such as the Sharjah award will undoubtedly inspire others to make a difference in refugees’ lives and encourage people in the region to stand in solidarity.”
Grandi said that since being appointed as UNHCR’s first Eminent Advocate, Shaikha Jawaher — both personally and through the Big Heart Foundation — has provided essential support to some of the world’s most vulnerable people, including displaced Syrians, Iraqis and refugees from Myanmar.
“We look forward to continuing this important relationship and will continue to rely heavily on her support in shedding light on the plight of refugees and the displaced globally,” he added.