UNHCR and League of Arab States sign agreement to address refugee challenges in the Arab region

USA. UNHCR and League of Arab States sign agreement to address refugee challenges in the Arab region

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (left) and Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit (right) signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 20 September 2017. The MoU aims to establish a global cooperation framework for an effective response to the needs of refugees in the Arab region and to facilitate better humanitarian access and emergency response.   © UNHCR/Dana Sleiman

NEW YORK/CAIRO – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the League of Arab States (LAS) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at establishing a global cooperation framework for an effective response to the needs of refugees in the Arab region and to facilitate better humanitarian access and emergency response.

The agreement was signed at a ceremony in New York attended by Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, on the margins of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly.

UNHCR has been working closely with the League of Arab States to raise awareness on asylum issues in the region, to foster support among the 22 LAS member states and to promote enhanced protection throughout the region.

UNHCR estimates that more than half of the refugee population worldwide and some 40 per cent of internally displaced persons are being hosted in the Arab region. Half of UNHCR’s annual budget, approximately, is allocated to operations in the Middle East and North Africa.

“This agreement further solidifies the long-standing cooperation UNHCR has shared with the League of Arab States and its member states in addressing fundamental humanitarian and displacement challenges,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

“Given the size and scale of forced displacement in the region, this strategic alliance with the Arab League will better enable us, collectively, to respond to the needs of refugees, the internally displaced and stateless populations, while at the same time supporting the governments and societies that generously host them,” he added. 

The League of Arab States, formed in March 1945, is a regional organization of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia made up of 22 countries.

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