Saudi Arabia Pledges $75M More to Support Refugees
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Naif has announced that Saudi Arabia will provide an additional $75 million to support refugees, in coordination with international organizations. Prince Mohammad announced the new aid package during a speech at the Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crises hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama on the margins of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly.
During his speech, Prince Mohammad highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts in relief work and humanitarian aid.
“The total humanitarian assistance provided by the Kingdom over the past four decades amounted to about $139 billion,” he said.
He singled out Saudi Arabia’s assistance to the Syrian people, saying that Saudi Arabia was one of the largest providers of aid.
“The Kingdom has received around 2.5 million Syrian citizens, and it is keen on not treating them simply as refugees or putting them in refugee camps. On the other hand, the Kingdom safeguarded their dignity and ensured their safety by granting full freedom of movement and issuing residence permits for hundreds of thousands of Syrians who wanted to remain in the Kingdom.”
“The Kingdom has also given them access to the labor market and provided healthcare and education free of charge. There are more than 141,000 Syrian children pursuing their education free of cost,” he said.
Prince Mohammad also said that Saudi Arabia has supported millions of Syrian refugees living in neighboring states, with aid reaching more than $800 million.
In addition, the crown prince said that Saudi Arabia has also welcomed Yemeni refugees, considering them as visitors and exempting them from residence and work regulations. Saudi Arabia has been the single-largest donor of humanitarian aid to Yemen.
Prince Mohammad highlighted the establishment in 2015 of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center. He said that Saudi aid to refugees in other countries included $59 million to the United Nations and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in February 2016, $30 million to Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and the Kingdom’s pledge to provide $50 million to the Indonesian government to support the Rohingya refugees.