The royal makes a stirring appearance on an Australian news channel to talk about the refugee crisis – and what we can do to help.
HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein has long been a vocal campaigner for human rights – but her latest address might be her most powerful yet.
The royal appeared on ABC News in Australia, which she’s currently visiting on an official tour, where she called for a political solution to solve “chaos” in the Middle East.
Talking to Lateline journalist Jeremy Fernandez, HRH revealed the “most pressing concern for the world right now is the refugee problem, and the problem with migration”.
“I don’t believe there’s a country that’s not affected in one way or another,” Princess Haya said. “The tragedy of the problems that underpin that crisis is one that needs to be addressed through political solutions.”
The mum-of-two, who is also chairwoman of Dubai’s International Humanitarian City, spoke movingly about how parents are forced to leave behind everything they know in search of a better life.
“These problems are about individuals,” she said. “It’s impossible to fathom the disaster or the desperation that people must face when they decide to get on a boat and literally gamble with their lives, and the lives of their children.
“It’s a massive crisis for the globe.”
The royal also touched on the current famine in South Sudan, and the threat of starvation for neighbouring countries.
“The world is in a very difficult, dark place, and it’s time for us all to pull together and find a solution,” HRH said.
“I remember growing up in Jordan, I was born in 1974 and during the 70s and the 80s Jordan was in a tough neighbourhood, but I never remember it as bad in my life as what the whole region looks like now.”
Princess Haya, who is also the founder of Tkiyet Um Ali, a Jordanian charity which feeds the hungry, said non-profits and humanitarian agencies are struggling to keep up with demand.
“[Food is] the most basic need, other than water and air, and every person has a right to that basic need,” she said.
“The fact is there is enough food in the world to feed everyone three times over, and there’s such an enormous amount of food wasted. There are so many cases where people aren’t willing to share.
“It’s one of the biggest shames on humanity that we call ourselves civilised… and yet we allow 800 million people to starve to death.”
The wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, did say there was a “glimmer of hope”, however.
“The problems we’re facing feel overwhelming. A lot of them are man-made, stemming from conflict, and there needs to be more of a concentration on political solutions,” she said.
“One of the glimmers of hope for humanity is that there are people across the world that have reached out to each other.
“I come from Jordan and the UAE, both of which have been very, very clear about the fact that, you know, charity starts at home. You make sure your own population is safe and well, well fed and well cared for and then you have a responsibility to the outside.”
The royal also touched on gender equality, stating that she didn’t class herself as a feminist because “it’s more about gender balance than it is about equality”.
“I’m very, very lucky to come from the UAE because we’ve got a leadership there that really empowers and supports women to enter into all walks of life and they’re a big part of the government and the private sector and there’s really a big percentage of very, very strong female ambassadors.”