The UAE Ambassador to Canada has reaffirmed the UAE's unwavering support for Syrian refugees since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011.
In an Opted published in Diplomat and International Canada, a magazine dedicated to diplomatic affairs and international and local issues, on June 30th, Mohammed Saif Hilal Al Shihi wrote that since the Syrian crisis began in 2011, the United Arab Emirates has expressed its compassion and unwavering support for the people of Syria.
"Since the beginning of the conflict, our government has also provided more than US$600 million in humanitarian and development aid, and pledged an additional $100 million in January 2015 in support of Syrian refugees, with a significant amount of these funds already being dispersed," he said.
Al Shihi explained that since the devastating crisis began, the UAE has provided more than 120,000 residency permits to Syrian nationals, bringing the total number of Syrian residents in the UAE close to 250,000, with more than 30,000 Syrian students being admitted to public and private schools, colleges and universities in the UAE.
"While working on long-term solutions, the UAE has also helped finance and support the best-managed refugee camps in the world. The UAE-financed Mrajeeb Al Fhood refugee camp in Jordan, home to more than 4,000 Syrian refugees, has often been covered in the media because it employs some the world's best chefs, providing gourmet meals throughout the day (inclusive of dietary-requirement meals), access to medical care around the clock in co-ordination with UNICEF, a fully equipped school for children, hot showers, and the highest standards in electricity and street lighting," he said.
The UAE Ambassador went on to note that during the United Nations Leaders' Summit on Refugees in September 2016, the UAE government announced a new initiative to accept 15,000 more Syrian refugees over the next five years.
To help implement this initiative, Al Shihi explained, "Following the Canadian government's invitation, a UAE technical team travelled to Canada in November, as organized by Global Affairs Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, to learn about the successful Canadian experience in accepting and resettling refugees."
"Simultaneously, the UAE quickly formed a high-level technical team, headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, and including representatives from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Prevention, the Emirates Red Crescent (the counterpart of the Red Cross) and the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, to seek international best practices in this area and determine how best to implement a resettlement policy on the ground," he added.
During the three-day joint training workshop, which was held at the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada headquarters, a number of issues and topics related to the handling of refugees were reviewed, including the legislative and political framework for refugee protection, the contribution of migrants to Canada's economic prosperity and the building of Canadian society, and the process of security screening and admission.
"The Syrian crisis cannot be resolved through military means, and must incorporate goodwill and political determination to successfully solve this crisis," the ambassador said.
"Within these circumstances, we look forward to working with our international partners, such as Canada, to see the return of peace and a viable future for the people of Syria once again," he concluded.
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs