Tuesday, September 15, 2015

We have hosted 2.5 million Syrians; we call them brothers, not refugees

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has hosted more than 2.5 million Syrians ever since the crisis began in their country, back in 2011. The new statement came from the Foreign Ministry which had been issued to the SPA. In the statement, Ministry officials have stated that those Syrians who have been allowed to reside inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been living a normal and decent life like all other expatriates. The Ministry added that they do not treat the Syrians as refugees, but instead treat them as our brothers. They are living in normal environments and not in any special refugee camp or shelter.

In accordance with the report by the Ministry, Syrians have been allowed full freedom to travel inside of the Kingdom and have also been given a legal residence permit. Additionally Syrians have also been allowed to enroll and study in the Saudi Schools as per royal orders dating back to 2012. More than 100,000 Syrians have been registered in the Public schools, the ministry stated in reaction to the negative, wrong and extremely exaggerated reports emerged about the role of the Kingdom in resolving or tackling the refugee crisis faced by the Syrian people. Additionally all Syrians inside the Kingdom are entitled to free medical treatment. Like all other expatriates, Syrians have been allowed to work in the private sector.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to date, has spent around $ 700 million in efforts to help the Syrian refugees. The Kingdom has indeed played a crucial role in aiding Syrian refugees located in Lebanon and Jordan through aid which includes clothes, medical treatment, medicine and food. An online publication has stated that the Ministry of Labor has also excluded all of the Syrian expatriates from the labor inspections which are also being carried out to correct the status of expats. A Syrian based out of Riyadh has stated that this will indeed be a great help to the Syrian visitors. He added that they have been living here for many years and have benefitted financially and through education for their children.

The visitors who have been residing along with their families have felt that these gestures will also help them to put their skills to use and also benefit from their stay, while the situation is a win for both the host country and the expats. The initiative taken by King Salman has been aimed at letting the various departments which are facing a shortage of skills, to benefit from the Syrian expats and the skills that they bring along with them. Many of the Syrian expats are highly trained in various fields and industries which will benefit the Kingdom greatly.

King Salman has also ordered the status of residence for those Yemenis staying in the Kingdom illegally, to be legalized so that they may also employ their skills and labor in various sectors and fields within the Kingdom. Some say that these refugees are a blessing for the Kingdom as Oil prices are slowly declining.

Source: Arab News

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