UAE and UNHCR sign agreement to support refugees in Colombia Image Credit: UNHCR

Dubai: The UAE and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, have signed a $ 2 million (around Dh7.34 million) agreement to support more than 26,000 Venezuelan refugees and migrants, Colombian returnees, internally displaced persons, and host communities in Colombia.

Through this contribution, UNHCR and its partners will be able to carry out empowerment initiatives and provide protection assistance, particularly to women, gender-based-violence survivors, children and youth. The contribution also aims to scale up emergency shelter and reception capacities for new arrivals at border areas between Colombia and Venezuela, and community centres for internally displaced persons.

The agreement was signed by Salem Rashid Al Owais, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Colombia, and by Jozef Merkx, UNHCR Representative in Colombia, in the presence of Marta Lucia Ramirez, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital Bogota.

Committed to humanitarian support

Al Owais said: “The UAE, with significant and sustained support from its wise leadership, affirms its unwavering humanitarian position on refugee issues around the world and commitment towards working to improve their humanitarian and living conditions, both through direct support and cooperation with specialised UN bodies and organisations such as UNHCR.”

He added that the UAE has also supported the ‘Women’s House’ initiative by Ramirez to promote women’s economic independence and rights.

Closing the funding gap

Nadia Jbour, head of UNHCR’s office in the UAE, said: “UNHCR appreciates today’s donation by the UAE, that comes at a critical time for our operations in Colombia, which is facing a dire funding gap, and will certainly support our efforts to address the most urgent needs of displaced Venezuelans and host communities in Colombia. This contribution demonstrates UAE’s historical commitment towards supporting UNHCR’s operation and the most effected population worldwide.”