Taiwan seminar in New York discusses aid to Syrian refugees

  • By Jake Chung / Personal Editor, with CNA

Taipei’s office of the economic and cultural representative in New York on Thursday held a seminar on providing sustainable assistance to Syrian refugees.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis in Syria have worsened the plight of Syrian refugees, making global aid all the more important, office director James Lee (李光 章) said as he opened the seminar.

Taiwan has worked with like-minded countries and partners to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees and has implemented more than 60 projects over the past eight years, including basic education, vocational training for women and psychological counseling for adolescents, he said.

Photo courtesy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York

The Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the UN, Inga Rhonda King, said Taiwan and its partners have worked to alleviate the pain and suffering of refugees.

Climate change and the pandemic have hit refugees the most, she said, adding that this highlights the need for increased humanitarian assistance.

Taiwan-Reyhanli Center for World Citizens founder Chiu Chen-yu (裘振宇) spoke about his experiences assisting refugees in Reyhanli, Turkey, near the Syrian border.

The high walls that separate countries could have been better used to deliver humanitarian aid, Chiu said.

When he helped build the center five years ago, he said he was amazed that it was the first refugee center in the region, despite a civil war that had already ravaged Syria for six years. at the time.

“We still have a long way to go,” he said, urging people around the world – regardless of religion, gender or age – to come together and help alleviate the crisis.

“The reason 8 million refugees have caused a crisis for others is because no one feels responsible. If, on the other hand, everyone felt they had to be responsible, such things would not happen, ”Chiu said.

Citing a fundraiser he organized last year as an example, Chiu said many people thought it was a wasted effort because Taiwan is far from Syria.

With help from the Foreign Ministry, he raised $ 1 million in six months, providing some respite for the centre’s finances, Chiu said.

The international community has not done enough for the Syrian refugees, said Yanis Ben Amor, Permanent Observer of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the UN, Paul Beresford-Hill and executive director of the Columbia University Center for Sustainable Development.

The international community should work on applying new technologies to help refugees, they added.

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