H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, has emphasised the importance of the international community taking action to put an end to the suffering of refugee women and children around the world.
She also stressed that refugee rights should be a top priority for the international community, resulting in the availing of decent life conditions for them, and more importantly, hope for the future.
She expressed these views during her meetings with leaders of International Organisations working in the field of refugee support, as well as international humanitarian aid leaders, on the sidelines of the 69th Regular Session of the United Nations’ General Assembly in New York.
Sheikha Jawaher met with three top UN officials, Gordon Brown, former U.K. Prime Minister and United Nations Special Envoy on Global Education, Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and Zainab Bangura, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
She discussed ways to reach a common mechanism of action among all organisations and relevant entities active in the field, aimed at enhancing collaboration in refugee support activities, and avoiding replication of action, in order to achieve the maximum utilisation of financial and human resources, expand services, and increase the sustainability of these services.
During her meeting with Gordon Brown, Sheikha Jawaher discussed ways to meet humanitarian challenges pertaining to refugees, particularly in terms of their protection, and meeting their most basic needs.
She also drew attention to the suffering of Syrian internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in surrounding countries, stressing her personal commitment to their plight. She highlighted the outcome of the Big Heart Campaign, especially in its third phase, which focused on providing educational aid to more than 1.2 million Syrian refugee children.
She offered an official invitation to Mr. Brown to attend the upcoming ‘Investing in the Future’ conference, which will spread awareness among young people of the current situation in the region and the negative implications of the refugees issue on the future, encouraging the youth to take part in humanitarian aid activities.
Brown, in his remarks said, “The commitment of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher to improve the condition of refugee children, particularly the right to education through the Big Heart Campaign, has had a tremendous impact. Today we are committed to work together to do more for children displaced by conflict and to engage young people in the campaign to reach universal education”.
Sheikha Jawaher also met with Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, who briefed Her Highness on the latest updates on refugees in the Middle East, and efforts exerted by the UN to provide humanitarian relief, as well as the mechanisms by which the UN mitigates challenges facing the delivery of this relief to a wider category of refugees and IDPs.
Zainab Bangura, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, during her meeting briefed Sheikha Jawaher on the latest UN reports on the sexual violence being faced by refugees, especially children. Her Highness called for the launch of awareness campaigns among refugees to encourage them to report sexual assaults, and guaranteeing no impunity for the assaulter.
Sheikha Jawaher stressed that sexual violence should count as a war crime, owing to its use in humiliating civilians and forcing them to be displaced, highlighting that this topic will be high on the agenda of the ‘Investing in the Future’ conference.
Zainab Bangura said, “I very much look forward to working together with Her Highness to prevent and respond to sexual violence against refugee children and other vulnerable groups. The commitment and engagement of champions like Her Highness is invaluable if we are to bring an end to this heinous crime.”