ABU DHABI, 1st May 2018 (WAM) – The ‘Year of Zayed’, being marked in the UAE during 2018 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, “celebrates the life, the legacy and the values of an inspirational world leader, who was also a great humanitarian, and whose vision of moderation, of tolerance, and of peace remains so important today,” Toby Harward, head of the UAE office of UNHCR, the UN’s refugees agency, said today.
Speaking at the launch of UNHCR’s new global digital Zakat platform, developed in partnership with the Abu Dhabi-based Tabah Foundation, Harward added that Sheikh Zayed “believed that looking after people’s welfare, and investing in their knowledge and in their capabilities would produce the greatest dividends for society.”
“This legacy has been shared with his successors and with his people,” Harward said.
The UNHCR official went on to say that, for his agency, “our presence in the United Arab Emirates is extremely important. The Government and the people of the UAE have been generous in their support for refugees worldwide, including through financial pledges, through the maintenance of a Syrian refugee camp run by the Emirates Red Crescent in Mraijib Al Fahoud in Jordan, and through recent important contributions to UNHCR in Yemen, in northern Uganda and in southern Bangladesh. “
“A few days ago,” he added, “we were delighted to sign an agreement for a donation from Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the wife of the late Sheikh Zayed, and Mother of the Nation, for an important women refugee livelihoods project in Uganda. “
The donation, of US $ 1 million, will support South Sudanese refugee women.
He also expressed UNHCR’s gratitude for what he described as “our strong and long-standing partnerships” with H.R.H. Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, the wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of Supreme Council member and Ruler of Sharjah, H.H. Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi. Sheikha Jawaher, he noted, had been the first person to be nominated as an ‘Eminent Advocate’ for UNHCR.
H.R.H. Princess Haya, he said, had been “a regular and a vocal supporter of refugees and the work of UNHCR.”
Harward noted that “a big majority of emergency relief items airlifted to Bangladesh in response to the arrival of more than 600,000 Rohingyan refugees came from our warehouses at the International Humanitarian City in Dubai.”
“The UAE has been absolutely critical to UNHCR’s response to this latest human crisis,” he said.