Queen Rania of Jordan paid an emotional visit to the Kara Tepe refugee camp on Monday (Apr. 25), one that moved her to tears. While on the Greek island of Lesbos, the mother of four met several refugees, including young children and babies who have suffered "unspeakable horror."
The royal visited the camp in her capacity as advocate for the International Rescue Committee, which provides legal counsel, health and protection services and psychological support to refugees.
Rania met two Syrian families and one Afghan family, who have applied for asylum and are anxiously awaiting their results.
The queen also met a group of Syrian women, who spoke about their fear and grief. Two of the refugees had lost their husbands who drowned when their boat capsized while trying to reach Lesbos from Turkey last month.
Rania gave an impassioned speech, offering comfort to the migrants, while also calling on governments and organisations across the world to lend a helping hand.
"Refugees are not numbers," she said. "They are human beings like you and I, except they have seen unspeakable horror and have experienced unthinkable tragedy and hardship. They risked everything, their families, their possessions just to make it to safety.
"We need to bring humanity and compassion back into the narrative, because this crisis is about people not borders and barriers. It's about human dignity not deals.
"It's very difficult for me to decide which story is more harrowing than the other because each one seems to be an incredible tragedy. These people have gone from suffering to suffering, and the one theme that I keep hearing time and time again is that if they had a choice, they would be back in their homes."
While thanking the Greek government and people for their "remarkable empathy and kindness towards refugees," Rania added that responsibility for the refugee crisis cannot be defined by geography and cannot be contained in Europe or the Middle East.
"This is an exceptional crisis and it requires an exceptional response," she said. "It requires a response that is collective and that is value-based, a response that is built on burden sharing not burden shifting."
During her visit the Queen, 45, was shown the International Rescue Committee's water, sanitation and hygiene services inside the camp, which is currently hosting over 950 people.
The committee began its operations in Lesbos, which is considered the gateway to mainland Europe, in July 2015.
It has provided health care, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in 40 countries across the world, with special programs focusing on the needs of women and children.