30 September – 1 October 2013
Geneva, Palais des Nations
Mr. High Commissioner,
My delegation thanks Madam Chairperson and the High Commissioner for organizing the High Level Segment on Solidarity and Burden-sharing with countries hosting Syrian refugees. The Estonian delegation is grateful for the detailed and useful briefing by the ministers of Syrian refugee-hosting countries. We admire the extraordinary generosity and hospitality of the host countries and their local communities, while recognizing the robust impact on host communities, economies, infrastructure, environment, and security. We are deeply alarmed by the gravity and deterioration of the ongoing crisis and therefore confirm our commitment to provide additional support to meet the pressing humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable. The Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs has stated recently, I quote: “The Syrian conflict is the largest humanitarian catastrophe of this century and unfortunately there appears to be no quick solution to it. The increasing flow of refugees from Syria is substantially affecting the entire region and beyond. It continues to be necessary to assure humanitarian assistance to those in need and support the states which are accepting Syrian refugees, because their capabilities are becoming exhausted”. End of the quote.
The contribution of my country, with a population of only 1,3 million, to the alleviation of the humanitarian situation of Syrian refugees is approaching 1 million Euros. Most recently Estonia has contributed to the mitigation of the humanitarian situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey and Iraq through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with 250,000 Euros. In the framework of the International Humanitarian Partnership, members of the Estonian Disaster Relief Team assisted in the construction of the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan and we also provided financial support for transitional shelters in this camp. Additionally, Estonia supported the creation of a learning environment for primary school-aged Syrian refugees in the Za’atr refugee camp in Jordan. The project is coordinated by the Estonian NGO, Mondo, and financed by the Estonian government.
We are also witnessing the increasing efforts of the Estonian civil society to help. Numerous initiatives have been launched to provide financial and in-kind assistance to Syrian refugees in host communities. The entire Estonian society is showing solidarity with host communities and expressing willingness to help.
A few days ago Estonia decided to support the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria with 50,000 Euros. It is important to remember that the use of chemical weapons also had an impact on the influx of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. The destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons will contribute to the broader alleviation of the Syrian humanitarian situation.
Let me assure you that my country is determined to continue to provide support to the host countries and communities and is working in coordination with the concerned States and humanitarian organizations by responding to ongoing appeals.
I thank for your kind attention.