News Room /
Islamic Relief statement on Somalia, Oct 8 2012
08 October 2012
“Islamic Relief endeavours in all its aid operations to meet the highest
humanitarian standards and to uphold humanitarian principles of
independence, impartiality and neutrality.." Iftikhar Shaheen, Regional Director for Islamic Relief in East Africa
The armed opposition group Al-Shabaab said on Monday via Twitter that it had revoked Islamic Relief’s permit to work in areas of Somalia under its control, alleging a breach of its operational guidelines. The alleged breach concerns “covertly extending the operations of banned organisations, particularly WFP” [the UN’s World Food Programme].
Iftikhar Shaheen, Regional Director for Islamic Relief in East Africa, responded:
“Islamic Relief has not yet been notified officially of any decision to revoke our licence but we are concerned about this announcement and we are seeking clarification from the local food committees we work with and other relevant authorities as a matter of urgency. None of our programmes in Somalia is funded by the World Food Programme. If this decision is confirmed it could put many lives at risk, jeopardising our work providing food, water, sanitation, health care and support for income generation to 1.3 million people in Somalia. We need to explain our principles, policies and programmes fully with a view to keeping this life-saving work alive.
“Islamic Relief endeavours in all its aid operations to meet the highest humanitarian standards and to uphold humanitarian principles of independence, impartiality and neutrality. In Somalia we have an established and trusted presence on the ground in all parts of the country, and we were in the forefront of providing food, water and medical assistance in most areas of greatest need during last year’s crisis. At the height of the emergency we were providing food aid to 180,000 people regularly and trucking water to 120,000 daily.
“We operate under the umbrella of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and our agenda is purely humanitarian – to reach and support those in need wherever they are. We need the consent of all authorities to facilitate full humanitarian access, and I appeal to all parties to the conflict to continue to allow this access.”