At Obama summit, Ploumen says promises must be kept

At the migration summit in New York this evening – an initiative of US President Barack Obama – development minister Lilianne Ploumen called on other countries  to honour the agreements that have been made. ‘Billions have been pledged for emergency aid, including recently at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul,’ she told the assembled leaders. ‘But a new UN study has just shown that after that, nothing has happened. Promises must be kept.’

President Obama invited Ms Ploumen to the summit in recognition of the Netherlands’ major efforts and financial contributions for the reception of refugees in neighbouring countries. With a budget this year of €755 million, the Netherlands ranks tenth on the international list of donors. ‘Of that amount, €445 million is for emergency aid,’ said the minister. ‘The rest of it is for other forms of support to Syrian refugees, and to the villages and cities that have taken them in. There’s a special focus on programmes for women and girls, who are particularly vulnerable.’

Syria

The war in Syria is dominating debates at the UN meetings this week in New York. Ms Ploumen pointed out that humanitarian tragedies are taking place elsewhere in the world as well, and these must not be forgotten. She therefore announced an additional €4 million in aid to Palestinian refugees who have fled to Lebanon and Jordan, to be spent by the UN refugee organisation UNRWA.

In conclusion, the minister reflected on the attack yesterday on an aid convoy on the way to Aleppo. ‘This outrageous bombing of aid workers once again demonstrates a total lack of respect for international humanitarian law,’ she stressed in her speech. ‘The people responsible must not go unpunished.’