Queen Rania urges greater humanitarian aid to support refugee crisis

In an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson

September 10, 2015

(Office of Her Majesty – Press Department – Amman) Discussing the ongoing refugee crisis, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah spoke, today, to CNN’s Becky Anderson and discussed Jordan’s efforts and the challenges it faces dealing the Syrian refugee crisis, and urged greater international unity and humanitarian aid.

Commenting on the current surge in refugees Europe is facing today, Her Majesty stressed the Jordan and the region have been grappling with much larger numbers for the past four years: “the European continent is having to deal with it now, we’re talking about numbers exceeding 350,000 refugees going into Europe, and although that seems like a large number, compared to the four million refuges that are now in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq, it’s only a small percentage of the overall number of Syrians trying to seek safety.”

Queen Rania and Becky Anderson discussed Jordan's humanitarian policy in relation to refugees and how it has been an unparalleled contribution to the stability of the entire region - not just today, but historically. Today Jordan, despite its small size and limited resources, has been hosting over 1.4 million Syrians, over 600,000 of them are registered refugees, and the impact of that on the country and its own population has.

“This is a crisis of exceptional magnitude and demands an exceptional response,” added the Queen.

In particular, the Queen Rania urged the international community to increase international support for Syrian refugees and host countries, warning that UN agencies are unable to fund needs on the ground. “We really need to close the shortfalls in humanitarian aid. The UN and other humanitarian agencies are literally running out of money.”

She also insisted that the end game must be a resolution of the conflict in Syria, Her Majesty said, “We are where we are today because of a failure of international diplomacy to push through a political transmission in Syria.”

If the international community fails to deal with both the current crisis and the conflict, “more boats will capsize, more children will drown, more people will die in the backs of trucks”. She further warned that this would serve the interests of extremist groups, saying that it would result in “a generation of people who are dislocated; a generation that at its most desperate could become susceptible to extremist ideology. We would be playing right in the hands of extremists who thrive and blossom wherever there is human desperation and wherever there is human division.”

“This is a tremendous crisis, we cannot fail these people” Queen Rania added, “What is our message to them if we don’t help them? That although you have risked everything to reject an extreme ideology of hatred and division, we are sending you right back to it?”

Queen Rania voiced her hopes that a consensus in Europe would encourage other countries “to be part of the larger solution and not to be silent bystanders to what is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.”

The Queen also noted the importance of not confusing ‘refugees’ with ‘migrants’; refugees are not leaving their homes by choice, “they are literally running for their lives, they’re running away from a well-founded fear of prosecution.”

Commenting on the long term implications of the crisis, the Queen said, “Repatriation must be the end goal… the Syrians themselves want that, to go back to their country, to their livelihoods, to their neighborhoods, and reunite with family.”

The Queen concluded the interview with a plea for empathy and compassion, “Each one of us has to try to do something, because at the end of the day we are human beings. A little empathy would lead to compassion, and compassion will compel us to act.”

Watch full interview here