Human Aid vindicated by return of seized funds, calls for end to statutory inquiry

Wednesday 13th May 2020

London – Human Aid UK [1] calls for the ending of the Statutory Inquiry triggered by the seizure of donations by UK border police on 9th July 2019 [2]. Human Aid has repeatedly asserted that the funds were lawful and for charitable purposes and should never have been seized [3]. Now ten months on, Police confirmed that the confiscated money are donations and perfectly legitimate. Today, all money seized was returned.

This admission by Police forces us to question the basis for the statutory inquiry launched on the 2 August 2019.

Nur Choudhury, Chair of Human Aid UK said:

“Human Aid UK has worked hard to pursue the funds entrusted to it and we are pleased to have finally retrieved the donations after 10 months. We can now take steps to make sure the funds reach the besieged people of Gaza”

“Now that all public funds seized have finally been returned, we need to question the basis of the statutory inquiry launched at the time. The people of Gaza were deprived of this life saving charitable contribution whilst hundreds of hours of police time and charity time was wasted. Moreover, the Charity Commission took the very serious step of initiating a statutory inquiry into Human Aid mainly on the basis of the seizure. We will be writing to the Commission seeking answers and hope that this inquiry, which has already lasted more than 10 months, can now be brought to a close.”

Human Aid has previously warned of a larger pattern of harassment of Muslim Charities at UK borders and prolonged scrutiny of Muslim charities by the Commission. [4]

This and other forms of harassment divert valuable charity and volunteer time from important projects that we have been busy with this year:

  1. UK Covid-19 response - Providing thousands of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to several UK Hospitals as well as hot meals to NHS Doctors and Nurses.
  2. Baby milk distribution - Distributing infant formula in Yemen to avoid children having to be hospitalised for malnutrition. Yemen has one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the world.
  3. Syrian refugee shelter - Providing food, furnishing, education, recreational and psychosocial support and care to refugee orphans and widows from Syria.
  4. Gaza clean water - 97% of water in the Gaza Strip is unsuitable for human consumption, resulting in conditions such as kidney gravel and renal disease. Through a solar powered water filtration system, we provide clean, safe drinking water.

We remain dedicated to providing food and health provisions to victims in war-torn areas, however we are also determined to challenge the overt discrimination faced by Muslim charities by legal means [5], and in a manner that we hope delivers greater benefit to all.

[Ends]

Notes to Editors:

  1. Human Aid UK aid victims of war and persecution, as well as addressing the root causes of conflict. We instill hope by standing up for their right to a life with dignity and freedom from oppression. We nurture citizens through programmes that connect their hearts to the oppressed.
  2. On 9th July 2019, Human Aid UK (HAUK) delegates were stopped at Heathrow Airport by Border Police as they were about to travel to Gaza to deliver lifesaving aid. They were searched and monies they were carrying were seized. This happened after the Charity Commission had visited Human Aid offices only a day before to discuss, amongst other matters, cash carrying procedures on aid delegations. This seizure of money suddenly escalated into a Statutory Inquiry on 2nd August 2019. HAUK trustees became concerned with this premature escalation, before even allowing the charity to prove its innocence. However after wasteful policing and unnecessary extensions the police have confirmed that there is no illegality and have returned the seized monies to the Charity.
  3. Metro:Metro: Muslim charity workers suffered ‘humiliating questioning’ by terror police during aid trip https://metro.co.uk/2019/09/15/muslim-charity-workers-suffered-humiliating-questioning-terror-police-aid-trip-10748062/
  4. Third Sector: Charity Commission accused of 'undue scrutiny' of Muslim charities https://www.thirdsector.co.uk/charity-commission-accused-undue-scrutiny-muslim-charities/governance/article/1660369
  5. Civil Society: Human Aid UK plans legal challenge against border police https://www.civilsociety.co.uk/news/human-aid-uk-plans-legal-challenge-against-border-police.html

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