Saudi aid independent of ‘political, racial and religious differences’

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Time: June 01, 2019  

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), speaks during a conference in Makkah. (SPA)
  • KSRelief chief says Makkah hosting Gulf and Islamic summits is part of Saudi Arabia’s mission toward Islamic world

MAKKAH: “Saudi Arabia has proven its objectivity as it does not link humanitarian aid to political stances of states, race, nor religion,” Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), said at a press conference in Makkah.
Al-Rabeeah added that hosting the Gulf and Islamic summits in Makkah is part of the Kingdom’s mission toward the Islamic world, noting that Saudi Arabia in two decades has already spent $87 billion in humanitarian aid to 81 countries. He emphasized the compatibility of this aid with international law and the norms of international organizations. These humanitarian programs included health, education, rehabilitation of child soldiers and refugee aid.
He praised the sponsorship and guidance of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the humanitarian aid programs of KSRelief. He said that there had been more than 1,011 humanitarian aid programs worth $3.5 billion to 44 countries since 2014, the primary beneficiaries being Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Iraq.
Special care is given to empowering women and 225 projects worth $390 million were dedicated to this, benefitting 62 million women, Al-Rabeeah said, in addition to 234 projects that helped 114 million children who benefitted from educational, nutritional, health, protection and environment programs.
Al-Rabeeah stressed the good treatment of refugees in the Kingdom who are considered guests of honor by the Saudi authorities and people. These refugees include 561,000 Yemenis, 262,000 Syrians, 249,000 Rohingyas and hundreds of thousands more from other countries who benefit from the Kingdom’s help to support the economies of their countries.
He said that Yemen is the primary beneficiary of Saudi humanitarian programs, without discrimination between government or Iran-backed Houthi-controlled territories. He added that 345 projects worth $12 billion were launched in that country over the past four years, especially in humanitarian programs and economic development aid, including support to the Yemen Central Bank.
Al-Rabeeah stressed the importance of the Kingdom’s role, especially when the cholera epidemic broke out in Yemen last year. He added: “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman supervised the humanitarian initiative organized by KSRelief and other Saudi institutions in coordination with the Yemeni Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and UNICEF to control the epidemic.”
In addition, 150 programs worth $500 million were dedicated to rehabilitating 20,000 child soldiers who were recruited by militias — including psychological, educational, community and family rehabilitation programs — and that nearly 2,000 had been fully rehabilitated.
He declared the launch of a new humanitarian aid program called “Masam” to deactivate and remove 1.1 million mines planted by the militias in Yemen, considered the biggest project since World War II, and said that 71,000 mines had already been removed and deactivated.
Al-Rabeeah noted that 78 projects worth $352 million were launched in Palestine in coordination with UN agencies, in addition to 191 projects dedicated to displaced children in Syria, including educational, health care and hospitals, and 37 projects worth $175 million in Somalia.

This article was first published in Arab News

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