Statement, Launch of Kuwait Documentary: “In Their Own Words and Voices”

Date Publish: 
Sunday, February 12, 2017 - 12:30
Mr. William Lacy Swing, Director General, International Organization for Migration
Kuwait City, Kuwait

Your Excellency, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah, Ministers, Ambassadors, Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen;

It is both a privilege and a pleasure to be back in Kuwait for a fifth visit since 2012 – this time to share with you a day of celebration of Kuwait’s leading humanitarian role in the region and beyond.

1. Unprecedented Crisis

But first let us remember how much the crises in Iraq and Syria have caused unprecedented displacement and human suffering.

Six years into the crisis, the humanitarian situation has continued to deteriorate in Syria with intensified fighting, high levels of violence, and widespread disregard for the rule of international law. 13.5 million persons are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, including 6.5 million internally displaced (IDPs). Nearly 5 million people are living in hard to reach and or besieged areas. In addition, over 4.8 million Syrians have taken refuge in the five countries: Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.

In Iraq, as of January 2017, there are almost 3 million IDPs, adding complexity to an already complex context where humanitarian needs continue to rise from military operations to retake Mosul. The displacement and the effects of the conflict cause hardship for communities and individuals, who must cope with desperate economic and social conditions.

2. Unprecedented Needs

Despite the response to these displacements by various humanitarian partners, thousands have yet to receive emergency supplies. Urgent assistance is needed, as the affected population lacks sufficient access to the most basic necessities, including shelter, water, food, medicine and basic emergency items.

3. Unprecedented Commitment

IOM and its humanitarian partners are continuing to scale up their services to meet the challenges posed by theses protracted crises with a particular emphasis on protection, provision of life-saving assistance, as well as early recovery and resilience to displaced persons and host communities.


In short, ladies and gentlemen, the world today needs champions. I am honored that today, I stand in the home of a leading global humanitarian champion – H.H. the Amir of Kuwait – who, for his distinguished humanitarian efforts, has been recognized by the UN Secretary General as a global humanitarian leader. I stand in the home of the people of Kuwait who, for their unwavering generosity to contribute to humanitarian needs, have led to the recognition of their country as a global humanitarian center.

Today, let us celebrate together the many lives that your generosity has saved, as your country, Kuwait, continues to inspire hope.

Thank you and wishing you all a pleasant viewing.