Members of Polish charity organizations met in KRG Poland office to discuss new plans of helping refugees in Kurdistan

As every year, Ziyad Raoof the representative of Kurdistan Regional Government to Poland hosted new-year meeting for representatives of Polish institutions and charity organizations engaged in providing aid to the refugees in Kurdistan. Participants of the meeting jointly summarized last year’ initiatives and presented new plans of supporting refugees. Bishop Rabban al-Qas from Duhok was a special guest of the meeting.

The event started with welcoming guests and speech given by Mr Ziyad Raoof who presented up-to-date number of refugees statistics and the most urgent needs. He emphasized that foreign support is still necessary because of limited resources of Kurdistan Regional Government and another wave of refugees coming from Mosul. KRG Representative also thanked the guests for their involvement in humanitarian actions implemented last year. He said that it surely contributed to rescuing thousands of people. Ziyad Raoof also asked representatives of humanitarian organizations to keep KRG Poland informed about actions in Kurdistan Region and report to KRG Office any questions or problems.

Ambassador of Panama in Poland Enrique Zaraq spoke as a first among the guests. He mentioned his last year’s visit to Kurdistan, when he personally distributed aid for refugees sponsored by the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, and also met with the KRG Minister of Interior. He noted that the Kurdistan Region is Middle-East oasis of peace and peaceful coexistence of different nations and religions. The Ambassador expressed the hope that Polish charity organizations will work in the new year as robust as previously.

Then Ms Joanna Pawełek-Mendez, representative of Polish ministry of foreign affairs, gave the floor. She relayed very important message- Polish authorities declared that this years they will double founds for humanitarian aid in the Middle East. Ms Pawełek-Mendez assured that Poland will support the Kurdistan Region and appreciates the peace and coexistence of different nations and religious tolerance that exist there.

Next, representatives of nine humanitarian organization briefed their activities in turn: Aid to the Church in Need, Polish Humanitarian Action, Polish Medical Mission, Eagle Watch Foundation, Polish Red Cross, Polish Center for International Aid, Caritas Poland, Anna Walczyk Foundation, SOS For Life Foundation. All of these institutions helped refugees in Kurdistan in 2016. This year they are going to implement another initiatives in Kurdistan Region, among other: delivering milk powder for infants, boxes with food and clothes, financial support, equipping Kurdish hospitals, sending Polish doctors, distributions of free medicines, support for families of martyred Peshmerga.

At the end of the meeting bishop Rabban al-Qas also gave the floor. He thanked everyone involved in charity aid and stressed that Kurdistan is a place where people of different religions live in peace. He praised the commitment of the Kurdistan Regional Government in helping both Christians and refugees of other faiths. The bishop noted that it is necessary to continue support for refugees so as to convince them to stay in Kurdistan and preserve religious and ethnic mosaic, instead of emigrating to the Europe. Rabban al-Qas definitely stated that Kurdistan deserve to be independent because of the tolerance and peace. Bishop also stressed the fact that in the areas liberated from ISIS educational activity is equally important as humanitarian support because it is necessary to rebuild the spirit of trust and community and overcome aggressive and intolerant ideology spread by ISIS. The meeting ended with declaration of maintaining contacts and strengthening mutual cooperation.