UNHCR Gulf Cooperation Council Senior Advisor Khaled Khalifa urges Muslims to support refugees struggling to cope with the repercussions of the global COVID-19 outbreak through its Refugee Zakat Fund.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launches the findings of its 2020 Islamic Philanthropy Report, highlighting the impact of the Refugee Zakat Fund on vulnerable refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) across the globe.
The Report claims that in 2019, the Refugee Zakat Fund received a total of over USD 43 million, including the largest ever single contribution made by the Thani Bin Abdullah Bin Thani Al-Thani Humanitarian Fund of over USD 35 million which has helped support a total of 164,696 vulnerable families (875,000 individuals).
Commenting on the Fund, Sheikh Thani Bin Abdullah Bin Thani Al-Thani says displaced communities are among the most vulnerable when crises hit.
“Displaced communities are, without a doubt, among the most vulnerable populations that require close and strategic attention from philanthropists wanting to make a serious impact on the state of the globe. The Muslim world has a historic opportunity to further demonstrate the significant role of Islamic social finance, and particularly Zakat, in humanitarian assistance, through extending a helping hand to the world’s displaced populations, while realizing key Sustainable Development Goals,” says Sheik Al-Thani.
According to Gulf Cooperation Council Senior Advisor Khaled Khalifa, other donations to the UNHCR Refugee Zakat Fund were from individuals, institutional partners and philanthropists primarily from the MENA region.
These donations have helped provide lifesaving assistance to a total of 191,497 vulnerable families (1,025,014 individuals).
“I thank the Thani Bin Abdullah Bin Thani Al-Thani Humanitarian Fund, and all individuals, foundations, financial institutions and faith-based organizations who have enabled us to reach over 1 million persons in need and have entrusted UNHCR with their Zakat. Today, and in view of the current global health situation, more refugees will require our humanitarian assistance, and Zakat and Islamic philanthropy can have a significant impact in responding to these needs,” says Khalifa.
Last month, UNHCR appealed for USD 255 million for its urgent push to curb the risk and lessen the impact of COVID-19 outbreaks on vulnerable communities. Funds are critical to urgently support preparedness and response in situations of forced displacement over the next nine months.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, the reality of displaced persons trying to cope under the cloud of COVID-19 is grim.
“Imagine trying to cope with this (the coronavirus pandemic) crisis with no access to soap and water to wash your hands. No hope of isolating yourself because of overcrowded conditions. No shelter to stay safely inside. Imagine having to do this after already having been forced by war to flee your home and your family. This is the tragic reality today for far too many refugees and displaced families around the world,” says Grandi.
(Ed. The Refugee Zakat Fund was launched by UNHCR in 2019 to help transform the lives of the most vulnerable refugees and IDPs, through partnerships and collaboration with Zakat institutions, foundations and philanthropists. Featured image provided courtesy of UNHCR.)