Prince of Wales warns of 'dire humanitarian situation' in his first New Year message

·2 min read
The Prince of Wales said in his first New Year message: 'We might take a moment to remember the many people around the world who are standing up for freedom and human rights' - Daniel Leal/Getty Images
The Prince of Wales said in his first New Year message: 'We might take a moment to remember the many people around the world who are standing up for freedom and human rights' - Daniel Leal/Getty Images

The Prince of Wales has issued a New Year plea for peace for persecuted people after being inspired by a Syrian refugee in Jordan who gave him a pot of honey.

Prince Charles has not previously released a New Year message but is understood to have been particularly moved by his own recent travels, as well as the plight of those including Aung San Suu Kyi, the ousted and recently jailed leader of Myanmar, whom he has met on several occasions.

The Prince of Wales has met Aung San Suu Kyi on several occasions and is said to have been moved by her plight - John Stillwell/Getty Images
The Prince of Wales has met Aung San Suu Kyi on several occasions and is said to have been moved by her plight - John Stillwell/Getty Images

He was also deeply concerned about the “catastrophic” situation in Afghanistan, following the fall of Kabul, warning just before Christmas that a million children could die in the country this winter.

During a visit to Jordan with the Duchess of Cornwall in November, the Prince met Hudaifa, 30, who had lost everything during the Syrian civil war and was rebuilding his life with a grant from the International Rescue Committee, which he hoped to use to make a living as a beekeeper.

He gave the Prince a pot of his honey, which he found particularly touching. A palace source said: “It was a very simple, generous act from someone who did not have much. Somebody who had had a lot but lost everything.”

When he returned home, Prince Charles, himself a keen beekeeper, sent Hudaifa a pot of his own Highgrove honey in return.

The Prince’s New Year message, to be distributed across the world through British embassies and on social media, focuses on themes that prevail through both his and the Duchess’ charity work.

He said: “As we start a New Year, we might take a moment to remember the many people around the world who are standing up for freedom and human rights.

"In places such as Afghanistan, Syria and Myanmar, among others, the threats and reality of political and religious persecution and insecurity are coupled with an increasingly dire humanitarian situation.

“In the face of such adversity, incredibly brave individuals, local communities and international organisations are responding to great needs by providing vital assistance.

"I pray for peaceful resolutions to these conflicts and that we might all be blessed with the courage to support those in need, wherever they may be.”

Prince Charles became patron of the International Rescue Committee in January 2020. He is also president of the British Red Cross.