UKHIA: Rohingya refugees walk back home after collecting relief material at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia yesterday. - AFP

GENEVA: The State of Kuwait underlined yesterday that it is essential to throw much weight behind political tracks to address the crises of asylum-seekers and refugees worldwide in a bid to turn emergency relief into sustainable development. The remark was made by Kuwait's Permanent Representative at the United Nations (UN) and International Organizations in Geneva Ambassador Jamal Al-Ghunaim during the 72nd session of the Executive Committee of the Program of the United Nations High Commissioner's Program for Refugees, held between October 4-8.

Ghunaim elaborated that those political tracks could be supported by spurring preventive diplomacy and resolution of conflicts through political dialogue, and motivating mediation efforts as the sole way to attain peace and stability, thus moving from the phase of emergency relief to that of sustainable development. He sounded the alarm that prolonged humanitarian crises, failure to find solutions and incompliance with international human rights law put regional and international security and peace in jeopardy.

"The failure and reluctance of the international community to handle all these problems culminate in the deterioration and aggravation of political conditions, which necessitates closer joint cooperation in various fields targeting better conditions for internally displaced persons and refugees in host countries," the Kuwaiti diplomat said. He underscored that it is imperative to carry on concerted international efforts to fight the fallout of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), especially reflections on refugees and displaced persons. Given the enormous and intricate challenges worldwide, it is the responsibility of everyone to back the UN refugee agency's efforts, he emphasized.

'Step up coordination'

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has 20 million refugees worldwide under its mandate, while the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has nearly 5.7 million Palestinian refugees, not to mention 48 million internally displaced persons, he said, adding that there are also 4.1 million asylum-seekers. Accordingly, the humanitarian community should step up coordination between regional and international agencies and nongovernmental organizations in response to such circumstances and challenges, Ghunaim added.

In this context, the Kuwaiti diplomat restated his country's commitment to backing the efforts of the UN refugee agency and other international humanitarian organizations. He pointed out Kuwait's total contributions of over $327 million to the global fight against COVID-19. The Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Program (ExCom) meets in Geneva annually to review and approve the agency's programs and budget, advise on international protection and discuss a range of other issues with UNHCR and intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. - KUNA