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First-ever World Humanitarian Summit in offing

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Added 13th April 2016 11:04 AM

We appreciate Uganda for its generous attitude of hosting and providing social services to these refugees, which has to bear a huge responsibility in its region.

First-ever World Humanitarian Summit in offing

Sedef Yavuzalp is the Ambassador of Turkey to Uganda

We appreciate Uganda for its generous attitude of hosting and providing social services to these refugees, which has to bear a huge responsibility in its region.


By Sedef Yavuzalp

On Thursday, April 7, Uganda's Minister of State for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister, Musa Ecweru, published an article in the New Vision highlighting Uganda's hospitality towards refugees.

He stated that "as the West is grappling with the refugee crisis and many are being turned back to Turkey under a negotiated arrangement, Uganda is increasingly gaining global consideration as a model country in refugee management. Uganda is home to over 500,000 refugees mainly from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Somalia, Eritrea, Rwanda and Kenya".

We appreciate Uganda for its generous attitude of hosting and providing social services to these refugees, which has to bear a huge responsibility in its region.

In relation to Turkey, it was not by accident that during the 68th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 26, 2013, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, declared Turkey as the host of the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). The WHS, to be held on May 22-24, 2016, in Istanbul, will address the extraordinary challenges to the current international humanitarian system.

In his statement, the Secretary General also emphasised both Turkey's position as one of the world's leading humanitarian donors (in fact Turkey is the "most generous" humanitarian donor when the ratio of official humanitarian assistance to national income is taken into consideration), and Turkey's own experience in directly responding to humanitarian emergency situations.

Turkey, during the Summit, would share its experiences and exemplary practices in this field.

Turkey's land has historically been moulded with humanitarianism. As early as in the late 15th century, Turks provided a safe harbour to several hundreds of thousands of exiled populations fleeing from persecution. Based on such a heritage, Turks have embraced countless peoples in dire need, regardless of their religious, ethnic or linguistic backgrounds, throughout history, either by hosting them or helping them in their own countries or in third countries, to the extent possible.

Today, Turkey hosts over three million refugees fleeing from the neighbouring countries in grand despair. So, sharing their suffering closely, we directly witness and deeply feel how affected and forcefully displaced communities go through such harsh ordeals. The designation of Turkey as the host of the World Humanitarian Summit is, therefore, the sign of international community's admiration for the tireless efforts of Turkey.

The challenge faced by the current international humanitarian system is that it can no longer adequately address today's humanitarian crises. Today, we observe three basic facts, which include, the growing complexity of contemporary humanitarian crises, the great majority of which are conflict related, the growing financing gap between ever-increasing needs and limited resources and the growing suffering of affected peoples and communities, as a consequence.

About 80% of humanitarian needs are caused by conflict, with most being recurrent or protracted crises lasting years long. Moreover, such crises are transcending borders as the recent tragic exodus of refugees and the effects of pandemics have bitterly reminded us once again.

In today's world, no country is immune from humanitarian crises, as stated by Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, in his article in the New Vision of March 23, 2016. Responding to these crises is, therefore, not only an international responsibility but also a moral obligation.

The World Humanitarian Summit should be the turning point at which we reaffirm our commitment to our responsibilities as States, international organisations, the private sector, civil society and individual leaders.

Turkey, with this understanding, awaits all stakeholders to embrace the future of humanity.

The writer is the Ambassador of Turkey to Uganda

 

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