Islamic Finance 

UNHCR launches global zakat platform to help refugees

| 01 May, 2018
UNHCR launches global zakat platform to help refugees
Photo: Rohingya refugees line the streets as United Nations Security Council convoy passes by, outside Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, April 29, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Fogarty

A global platform, which will allow proper and efficient channelling of the Zakat funds directly to the poor and vulnerable refugee families in host communities, has been launched in Abu Dhabi.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi-based Tabah Foundation on Tuesday unveiled the global Zakat platform, which provides a trusted and efficient route to fulfil Zakat obligations and ensure 100 per cent of Zakat funds goes directly to the neediest refugee families in Jordan and Lebanon.

The UNHCR's Zakat initiative is fully Shariah compliant and is backed by five fatwas from leading Islamic scholars and institutions. It is subject to rigorous governance, ensuring transparency at every step, from donation to provision of assistance. The UNHCR has adopt-ed a digital only approach to paying Zakat, ensuring security, efficiency, transparency and complete peace of mind.

The new platform can be accessed at

Toby Harward, the UNHCR's head of office in Abu Dhabi, said: "This Zakat platform initiative is timely and will be very significant in supporting and helping thousands of poor and vulnerable families in Jordan and Lebanon.

"In today's world, there is no mission more important than supporting the vulnerable people, the poor and those in need." Harward noted that the people in the UAE have been very supportive to the UNHCR's humanitarian causes and that the biggest relief items to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have come from the UAE.

Houssam Chahine, head of private sector partnerships for the UNHCR in the Mena region, said: "The situation of refugees globally is one of the biggest human tragedies of our time, with more than 22.5 million refugees, 40 per cent of which are in the Mena region.

"Since Muslims make up the majority of today's refugees, the Zakat initiative comes timely to secure life-saving humanitarian assistance to refugees in need. The UNHCR ensures 100 per cent of Zakat contributions go directly to eligible refugees under the extreme poverty line, with no money taken off for overheads. The new global platform makes fulfilling Zakat obligations fast and simple for those wishing to help refugee families, until they become self-reliant."

According to Chahine, the UNHCR started with a pilot project for the global Zakat platform last year and raised $2.6 million (Dh9.5 million) in Zakat funds, which was used to provide support to 14,000 refugee families that were identified in Jordan in a period of only one month. Noureddin Harthi, CEO of Tabah Foundation, said: "Our cooperation with the UNHCR over the Zakat initiative is built on our two organisations' shared values and our mission to help humanity. Through this partnership, we provide the UNHCR with technical expertise and knowledge that ensure the transparency and sustainability of this commendable Zakat initiative.

"There are many refugee families in need in the region, and the Zakat initiative comes as a lifeline for the most vulnerable of them."

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