Tsunami refugees in Europe.
Jeddah, 20 Jumadil Awwal 1438/17 February 2017 (MINA) – Within framework of cooperation between the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the two sides signed on 16 February 2017 a Plan of Action (PoA) for 2017-2018, at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), “the objective of the Plan of Action is to enhance cooperation and advance the strategic humanitarian partnership between UNHCR and the OIC,” said Ambassador Hesham Youssef, OIC Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, who signed on behalf of the Secretary General.
“The Plan of Action between the two parties for 2017-2018 will include reinforcing the partnership to respond to common challenges in terms of the protection and assistance to refugees particularly from the OIC Member States,” he added.
The fields of cooperation also include improving international burden sharing as opposed to burden shifting for countries hosting large numbers of refugees by meeting the needs of host governments and local populations as well as those of refugees.
The two sides would also focus on promoting the asylum and protection system deeply ingrained in the Islamic principles and its cohesion with the international protection mechanism for refugees and asylum seekers.
On the issue of mixed migration flows, the Plan of Action stipulates that the OIC and UNHCR would work together to provide protection for the migrants at the sea and combat trafficking, kidnapping and smuggling.
The two parties would also collaborate in finding durable solutions for the main protracted situations in the OIC area.
“This Plan of Action is a significant milestone in the process of the strategic partnership between the OIC and UNHCR, commented Mr. Khaled Khalifa, UNHCR Regional Representative for the GCC who signed on behalf of UNHCR High Commissioner”.
“We are hopeful it will contribute towards building a structured approach to addressing the refugee problem in the OIC Member States and mitigating the humanitarian suffering of the displaced people and the heavy burden shouldered by hosting countries and communities”, Mr. Khalifa added.
The two Organizations would work together on the Plan of Action in line with the Agreement signed between the two sides on 5 July 1988 and in light of the Ashgabat Declaration of the Ministerial Conference of the OIC on Refugees in the Muslim World that was held in Ashgabat in May 2012. (T/RS05/RS01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)