Dubai: Highlighting the refugee crisis in the world as a serious humanitarian issue, Shaikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and the Chairperson of the Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) and Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), pointed out that the crisis had the worst impact on displaced children left vulnerable to the harsh circumstances of life in asylums.
Shaikha Jawaher made the statement on the sidelines of a virtual event conducted by UNHCR on Thursday to reappoint her as its Eminent Advocate — a post that Sheikha Jawaher assumed in 2013.
In almost a decade’s time since she took up this responsibility, Shaikha Jawaher has worked relentlessly for this cause. She has used her global position and influence to increase public awareness about refugees and the work of UNHCR, with its focus on children.
The event, broadcast on Sharjah TV and all social media platforms of TBHF, was attended by Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Houssam Chahine, Chief of Private Sector Partnerships for Mena at UNHCR, global humanitarian leaders and a group of refugees and internally displaced people.
79 million people displaced around the world
Addressing the gathering, Shaikha Jawaher highlighted the plight of the refugees, calling upon the global community to come together to address the issue. She said: “In many regions around the globe, people amongst us are searching for a homeland after they were forced to abandon their homes and livelihoods due to conflicts. They are labelled refugees. Some of them have never understood the concept of homeland or what it means to belong. To date, nearly 79 million have been displaced for various reasons. Every one of them carries a story of displacement and alienation, with no end in sight for their misery. To change these realities, we need to identify the reasons for such displacement and work collaboratively on a global level.”
Shaikha Jawaher also added that the on-going COVID-19 pandemic had exacerbated the struggles of this vulnerable population by hindering their access to essential services such as health care and requires concerted global efforts to overcome the situation.
Addressing the audience, Grandi acknowledged the stellar role played by Shaikha Jawahar in her humanitarian leadership. Grandi pointed out that the exemplary generosity and personal and moral support extended by Shaikha Jawaher had touched the lives of more than a million refugees and Internationally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in more than 20 countries — particularly women and children.
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UNHCR official expresses gratitude
He expressed his gratitude that Shaikha Jawaher had gracefully agreed to renew her title. “Refugees around the world are facing enormous challenges. Of the 80 million people forcibly displaced, 85 per cent are hosted in developing countries that are themselves struggling to meet the needs of their citizens, especially as we collectively battle COVID-19. In 2020, Shaikha Jawaher made invaluable contributions in the wake of three crises: The COVID-19 pandemic, the Beirut blast and the floods in Sudan. I’m therefore most grateful that she has accepted the invitation to renew her Eminent Advocate title,” Grandi said.