Refugees central to fight against COVID-19: Arab League

Refugees central to fight against COVID-19: Arab League

Cairo, June 21 (IANS) The Arab League said that the rights of refugees must be a “central axis” of efforts against the coronavirus pandemic because people uprooted from their homes are especially vulnerable amid a pandemic.

Arab countries host nearly half of the world’s refugees, including 5.5 million Palestinians, the league said in a statement marking World Refugee Day, reports Efe news.

“Refugees are among the most vulnerable to this pandemic, because they are more exposed to diseases due to their living conditions in camps,” the League said in a statement on Saturday, calling World Refugee Day an opportunity for the world “to show its support for this group and its commitment to international solidarity”.

One way for the international community to demonstrate that support would be to “share the burden” with countries that have taken in large numbers of refugees.

The Arab League called for international cooperation to provide refugees and other displaced people with the “necessary care” and “the economic and social support”.

While many of the refugees sheltering in the Arab nations are from some of the league’s 22 member-states, people from sub-Saharan Africa have also found haven in the countries represented by the Arab League.

Most of the refugees reside in urban centers among the local population and relatively few of them are in purpose-built camps.

The governments of the Arab League nations hosting the largest numbers of refugees, notably Lebanon and Jordan, have repeatedly said that they lack the resources to meet the needs of the refugees and ensure their access to basic services.

The latest bulletin from the World Health Organization puts the number of COVID-19 cases in what WHO designates as the Eastern Mediterranean region (extending from Morocco to Pakistan) at 878,428, while the death toll stands at 19,560.

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