Saudi Gazette – Saudi Arabia is keen on handling the issue of humanitarian crises out of its commitment in line with the fundamental teachings of Islam which calls for peace and is keen to assist the needy people, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior, said here on Monday.
The Crown Prince made the remarks, setting the tone of the Kingdom’s policy toward this most pressing contemporary global issue, in his speech at the summit on “Addressing large movements of refugees and migrants” on the sidelines of the 71st annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday.
The issue of what to do about the world’s 65.3 million displaced people takes center stage at the General Assembly with heads of state and leaders from the United Nations’ 193-member states attending the summit.
The Crown Prince noted that ever since the foundation of the Kingdom by the late King Abdul Aziz, Saudi Arabia has been carrying out this great humanitarian role, and now it ranks third in the world in terms of the provision of humanitarian, relief and development aid.
“The total humanitarian assistance provided by the Kingdom over the past four decades amounted to about $139 billion,” he said.
Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, who heads the Kingdom’s delegation to the UN session, also underscored the keenness of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman in unifying the Kingdom’s efforts in the humanitarian and relief fields to support the needy countries.
“The creation of King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Works reflects the Kingdom’s shining humanitarian role at the global level,” he said.
Referring to the Kingdom’s unwavering support to the Syrian people affected by conflicts, the Crown Prince noted that the Kingdom is in the forefront of countries in alleviating the suffering of the Syrian people ever since civil war broke out in that country.
“The Kingdom has received around 2.5 million Syrian citizens, and it is keen on not treating them simply as refugees or putting them in refugee camps. On the other hand, the Kingdom safeguarded their dignity and ensured their safety by granting full freedom of movement and issuing residence permits (iqama) for hundreds of thousands of Syrians who wanted to remain in the Kingdom.”
“The Kingdom has also given them access to the labor market and provided healthcare and education free of charge. There are more than 141,000 Syrian children pursuing their education free of cost,” he said, adding that the Kingdom also contributed in supporting and sponsoring millions of Syrian refugees living in neighboring states.
The Crown Prince said that Saudi Arabia considers Yemeni refugees as visitors and provides many facilities for more than half a million of them. These facilities include freedom of movement, work and to bring their families.
Some 285,000 Yemeni children have enrolled free of cost in Saudi government schools.
The Kingdom has extended recently humanitarian assistance worth over $42 million to Yemeni refugees staying in Djibouti and Somalia.
In response to meet the humanitarian needs of the Yemeni people, the Kingdom has so far granted about $500 million.
The Crown Prince emphasized that the Kingdom believes that the first basic step to take while addressing these crises is to step up efforts to solve these conflicts in line with the UN Charter through preemptive diplomatic means to stem the crises and stop them from turning into military conflicts that bring forth humanitarian disasters.
Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif reiterated that the Kingdom would spare no efforts in working along with various states and international organizations to achieve global peace and security and everything that is good for humanity.
The Crown Prince stated that the Kingdom would also continue carrying out its humanitarian, political and economic role, by fully realizing its responsibility, moderation and justice, which are the concepts that form the basic tenets for the Kingdom’s interaction with the global community.
In his speech, the Crown Prince also congratulated the outgoing General Assembly president on the successful completion of his tenure, and wished the new president every success.