With limited funding and more than 65 million people forcibly displaced globally, UNHCR is facing unprecedented challenges in providing adequate shelter for refugees.
In this light, UNHCR Thailand is joining the global campaign, “Nobody Left Outside”, to call on the private sector to contribute funds for shelter solutions for two million refugees in 12 countries including Afghanistan, Jordan, Lebanon and Rwanda over the next three years.
The campaign launch in Thailand is in collaboration with three leading public figures and organizations that support fundraising activities in the country, namely Venerable V. Vajiramedhi, Channel 3 and Sansiri.
“A shelter – be it a tent, a makeshift structure or a house – is the basic building block for refugees to survive and recover from the physical and mental effects of violence and persecution,” said Ruvendrini Menikdiwela, UNHCR Thailand Representative. “Yet around the world, millions are struggling to get by in inadequate and often dangerous dwellings, barely able to pay the rent, and putting their lives, dignity and futures at risk.”
The campaign has been endorsed by the respected Buddhist monk, Venerable V. Vajiramedhi, who spoke at the press conference. “The loving kindness of Metta and Karuna are at the core of Buddhist belief and constitute the essential values of Thai people. We believe that the absolute way to peace is through humanity unification. As religion people we all have the duty to shelter one another regardless of nationality, race and religion.”
Recently, the 3 Mitinews programme from Channel 3 visited UNHCR’s operation in Lebanon, the country which hosts the highest number of Syrian refugees in the world in proportion to its population size. Kitti Singhapad, campaign supporter and executive producer of 3 Mitinews, reflected on his experience in the field: “We witnessed UNHCR’s challenges in providing shelter to every refugee. With the scale of displacement, UNHCR needs to put its priority on the most vulnerable people, the children and women.”
He added, “As the media, we have a role to raise our voice for refugees and to get to the heart of human suffering. We hope that the truth will help to mobilize support from all sectors of Thai society for refugees in need.”
Srettha Taweesin, President of Sansiri Pcl., a major property development company in Thailand and also one of campaign’s prominent corporate supporters, emphasized the importance of shelter as a basic necessity of life according to Sansiri’s philosophy. “We always believe that giving shelter is giving life and to improve people’s quality of life we have to emphasize this fundamental element. Shelter is essential for refugees as it not only provides safety but also restores their dignity as human beings.”
The “Nobody Left Outside” campaign welcomes support from all sectors to join global efforts to shelter two million people in 12 countries by the end of 2018. These operations are expected to cost US$724 million in 2016. Yet only US$158 million is currently available, a shortfall which threatens to leave millions of men, women and children without adequate shelter and struggling to rebuild their lives.
To support the “Nobody Left Outside” campaign, please go to www.unhcr.or.th