Queen Rania and UNHCR chief discuss refugee challenges amid declining support

queen rania
(Photo: Her Majesty office)
AMMAN — Her Majesty Queen Rania met with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) offices in New York on Monday to discuss the challenges faced by Syrian and Sudanese refugees and local communities in host countries. This meeting comes at a time when global donor support is diminishing, despite the pressing need for increased international cooperation.اضافة اعلان

During the meeting, Her Majesty and Grandi addressed the prolonged Syrian refugee crisis, which has been significantly underfunded in recent years. Despite being overshadowed by other global emergencies, Queen Rania emphasized that "the Syrian refugee crisis remains a critical issue" for Jordan. The nation, hosting over 1.3 million Syrian refugees, equivalent to 12 percent of its population, with around 655,000 registered with UNHCR, is increasingly shouldering the burden alone. The refugee response is severely underfunded, leading to dire consequences for the refugees' lives, the Jordan News Agency, Petra reported.

The decreasing global support has also forced the UN World Food Program (WFP) to reduce aid to over 100,000 Syrian refugees in camps and entirely withdraw support for 50,000 others living outside camps.

Highlighting the grave implications of this situation for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Her Majesty stressed the importance of collaborative efforts, echoing Grandi's call for collective strategic actions to address the challenges faced by refugees worldwide.

The High Commissioner and his team provided Her Majesty with an overview of the dire situation in Sudan, where more than 5 million Sudanese have been forcibly displaced, with 4 million internally displaced and the rest seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Since the crisis erupted in Sudan in April, refugees have been crossing into five neighboring nations: the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, South Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia. Grandi underscored that 90 percent of those arriving in Chad, where he recently visited, are women and children. He also highlighted the difficulties faced by host nations in dealing with the increasing influx, given their already limited resources and preexisting crises.

Emphasizing the urgent need for greater financial support, Grandi informed Her Majesty about the insufficient funding for UNHCR's Sudan Emergency Regional Refugee Response Plan. The plan seeks a little over $1 billion to provide essential aid and protection to over 1.8 million Sudanese expected to arrive in the five neighboring countries by the end of 2023. To date, it has received only 27 percent of the required funding.

Her Majesty also raised concerns about the rising intolerance towards refugees, noting that in the face of multiple crises worldwide, "feelings towards refugees and migrants have become polarized and politicized, eliciting strong emotions from all sides." She added that this polarization of attitudes can hinder UNHCR's work.

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