SHARJAH, 21st June 2016 (WAM) – H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, has called for collaborative efforts to end the plight of refugees worldwide and the intensification of emergency aid to alleviate their suffering and meet their humanitarian needs.

Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi’s call, which coincides with the annual June 20 World Refugee Day, is aimed at helping the increasing number of refugees fleeing war from their countries. According to a recent report released by UNHCR, the number of displaced persons seeking sanctuary in countries other than their own exceeded 65.3 million people at the close of 2015.

“The world is experiencing a decisive moment in its history because of major challenges and problems, particularly with regards to the refugee crisis. This pressing concern requires everyone – leaders, officials, individuals and organisations – to come together and help these innocent refugees, the majority of whom are vulnerable women, children and the elderly. There are millions of displaced persons who are in dire need of help and practical assistance to overcome this difficult phase of their lives. It is our responsibility to protect and care for them during their darkness time and to work in unison to create their brighter future,” said Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi.

“According to UNHCR statistics, for the first time since the Second World War, the number of refugees has surpassed 65 million people fleeing their homes as a direct result of war and conflict. This alarming figure requires us to take collective efforts and mobilise our resources to help stem this tide of human misery. It is incumbent open us all to create real actions to cope with this challenges at this critical phase in human history. We need concrete undertakings that will make a positive difference in the lives of millions of people who have been displaced from their homes without food, healthcare and education,” she added.

Sheikha Jawaher emphasised; “In the face of current conditions, we are in dire need of a genuine political will that rises to meet this challenge and which puts all differences aside. We need a will that places the issue of helping refugees and ending their ordeal at the top of the global list of priorities.”

She added; “The future of the world will hang in the balance if the problem of refugees is dealt with as a problem that only touches countries that suffer from crises. We are all heading towards the unknown if no action plans are put in place to tackle this urgent issue. The hardship of refugees is the nucleus of regional and global problems that, if not addressed, will affect the future of everyone in our shared world.”

Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi continued; “The potential losses from turning a blind eye to this humanitarian crisis are much, much larger than the volume of assistance that is needed by refugees at present. It is therefore imperative that we unite our efforts and think seriously about the future of the over 65 million refugees worldwide.”

The UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children and Chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation’s comments came as part of her outline of how refugees in need could be best served. She spoke of the need to invest in the education of refugee children to equip them with the skills to meet their challenges. She reiterated the importance of providing a safe shelter for people who are fleeing wars and turmoil in their home countries and the rebuilding of cities and their vital infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, universities and other service amenities, so as to bring these cities to life and encourage refugees to return to their homes.

WAM/bashir