70 organizations partake in humanitarian conference

KUWAIT: Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Khaled Al- Jarallah delivers a speech during the ninth seminar on Kuwait’s humanitarian work yesterday

WASHINGTON/KUWAIT: Kuwait will host an annual international NGOs partnership conference to feed one billion people, said Chairman of the International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO) Abdullah Al-Maatouq. The announcement came as a response to an initiative to feed the poor of all religions and ethnicities, launched during the Alliance of Virtue for the Common Good conference, held in Washington late Tuesday. In his speech during the conference, Maatouq, also Amiri Diwan Advisor, said that the event aims to promote dialogue and peace between all religions and protect human rights. He noted that Islam is based on tolerance, dignified living and equality among all humans.

Maatouq added that the world is in desperate need for peaceful dialogue in the light of the ongoing religious extremism and conflicts. Meanwhile, he said that participants in the conference are pushing to create an international alliance for all religions and peace activists to face the growing challenges. The conference is attended by hundreds of people of different religions around the world. The event includes a discussion seminar on the role of religious virtue and common good, as well as the Washington Declaration which will be issued at the end of the conference.

Iraq's support

In the meantime, IICO announced yesterday that 70 humanitarian organizations, including 30 regional and international agencies, 25 from Iraq and 15 Kuwaiti organizations, will participate at the NGO Conference to Support the Humanitarian Situation in Iraq scheduled on Monday. Chairman of the Higher Committee and IICO Director General Bader Al-Sumait made the remarks in a press conference yesterday.

Sumait announced readiness to host the conference of non-governmental organizations to support the humanitarian situation in Iraq, and the reconstruction of Iraq conference, which will be hosted in Kuwait next week. Sumait added that supporting the humanitarian situation in Iraq comes within the framework of Kuwait's pioneering humanitarian stance, which is reflected in its hosting the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq (KICRI) during the same week, and under the patronage and leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

The conference on providing humanitarian support aims at easing the suffering and healing the wounds of Iraqi victims, without discrimination based on race, religion or any other considerations, only consistent with its principles, human and moral values.

Sumait pointed out that the Kuwaiti Cabinet has entrusted IICO to organize the conference, noting as well that IICO has formed a higher committee to prepare for the conference and established a number of administrative and logistics teams. IICO chief noted also that his organization has also coordinated efforts with the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) along with the Iraqi officials, to ensure the success of the conference and achieve its humanitarian goals.

Sumait pointed out that the IICO has sent invitations to more than 100 local, regional and international organizations and many leading figures and active international organizations in the humanitarian field, in addition to the conference' agenda, its vision and objectives, indicating that the response so far is great and exceeds expectations, which are important indicators regarding the conference.

Prominent entities

Sumait said that among prominent entities participating in the conference are the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and many other international organizations.

Sumait added that GCC organizations participating in the conference are the International Islamic Relief Organization in Jeddah, the Royal Foundation of Bahrain, the Qatar Charity Association, as well as Kuwaiti charitable societies, the Kuwaiti Red Crescent, the Turkish Iraq, Qatar, and Bahrain Red Crescents.

Sumait pointed out that the aim of the conference is to have an active humanitarian assistance, basic needs in the affected areas in Iraq, and activate efforts of local, regional and international humanitarian organizations to implement their programs and projects in Iraq.

He stressed that the International Islamic Charitable Organization looks forward to the conference as a humanitarian platform to collect and activate local, regional, and international humanitarian aid, and to fully comprehend the humanitarian situation in Iraq, including announcing pledges and contributions in support of the humanitarian situation in the affected areas of Iraq.

Sumait said that the conference is expected to witness a number of meetings during which prominent figures that work in the humanitarian field, at home and abroad to share and talk about the humanitarian situation in Iraq, exchange experiences of some organizations in the relief of the affected and the basic needs of the millions of displaced Iraqis.

With regard to follow-up mechanism after the conference, Sumait said that IICO is scheduled to issue periodic reports on implementation of the pledges, and they have called upon participating organizations to provide the committee with quarterly reports on its humanitarian programs to be implemented in Iraq during the year 2018.

Humanitarian projects

Separately, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Khaled Al-Jarallah said that Kuwait continues to execute humanitarian projects around the world to develop life for people in need. Kuwaiti governmental bodies and NGOs are continuously exerting efforts to support economic and social growth in disaster-struck countries, Jarallah said in his opening speech at the ninth seminar on Kuwait's humanitarian work, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday.

In this matter, he mentioned the efforts of Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) which executed projects in 106 countries, as well as Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS), Zakat House, Awqaf General Secretariat and charitable societies. The seminar, held in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), aims to shed light on Kuwait's great humanitarian role to aid those affected by natural disasters and conflicts, he said.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Foreign Minister noted that Kuwait's Direct Aid Society had provided over $1.5 billion to the African continent since 1981, while Rahma International charity provided about $1 million since 2003. Kuwait also donated $200 million to Iraq and $100 million for Yemen to boost education, health and water networks in these two countries deeply affected by war and conflicts. Moreover, he spoke of Kuwait's international conference to reconstruct Iraq to be held next week, as part of Kuwait's commitment to aid people in need everywhere. The conference will see the participation of about 70 countries and over 2,000 companies and businessmen.

Jarallah added that Kuwait had pledged about $1.6 billion in donors conferences for Syria. The country's recent pledge at London's donors conference for Syria was $300 million to be provided within three years. It also donated $15 million to support the Rohingya Muslims during an international conference on the matter. As for the meeting of the US-led international coalition against the so-called Islamic State (IS) on Foreign Ministers level to be held in Kuwait on February 13, Jarallah said the meeting will be the first since the defeat of IS in Iraq. - KUNA