UNHCR unveils Refugee Zakat Fund


Alliance magazine


The United Nations Refugee Agency has launched a new global structure that transforms UNHCR’s existing Zakat programme into a global fund aimed at aiding the most vulnerable displaced populations while meeting the needs of Islamic institutions as well as individuals in fulfilling their social responsibility.

UNHCR unveiled its ‘UNHCR Zakat Program: 2019 Launch Report’ developed in partnership with DinarStandard which shows that global Zakat giving stands at $76 billion worldwide, and could potentially reach an amount as high as $356 billion, if proper mechanisms are in place for Muslims to safely fulfill their Zakat obligations.

‘Over the past few years, UNHCR has seen the demand for a trusted and efficient way of fulfilling Zakat obligations, while making an impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable populations in the world,’ said Houssam Chahine, UNHCR’s Head of Private Sector Partnerships in the MENA region. ‘It was inevitable for our Zakat program to evolve into a structure that better appeals to the global Islamic finance industry. The Fund allows UNHCR to be even more transparent and trusted in how it receives and distributes Zakat funds.’ he added.

The decision to restructure the Zakat program into the global Refugee Zakat Fund is due to the high donor turnout UNHCR has witnessed in the past years.

‘Zakat has the potential to release tens of billions of dollars into global philanthropic causes and humanitarian needs, inaugural UNHCR report reveals’, said Rafi-uddin Shikoh, CEO and Managing Director at DinarStandard. ‘Muslim obligatory charitable contributions might be just the solution to address UNHCR’s funding gap given that 60 per cent out of the 68.5 million of forcibly displaced people worldwide (around 40.8 million people) are Zakat-eligible.’ he added.

For more see: zakat.unhcr.org

Comments (2)


You really share a great piece of content and useful information. It will be a great source of knowledge for the people. Thank you for enlightening us.

Bijou Smith

When dealing with sacred obligations like Zakat, you need complete and utter transparency. If UHCR has that, then this seems like a potentially huge boost for refugee relief. I would only add that there needs to be even more work on preventing the root causes of refugee numbers. That can involve the gnarly job of rooting out corruption and oppression, but you need to also acknowledge the "soft" oppression of IMF and WB austerity impositions on developing nations who are forced to borrow US dollars. These should not be loans, they should be regarded as grants for development, because Zakat donations alone cannot fund all the development needed for just basic humanitarian living standards in the resource poor nations. If US dollars are not used, then the SDR's could be used. The task is then to see that the grants are used correctly for stated purposes,to build domestic economies, not to fuel export driven exploitation where all the goods get shipped overseas to pay back the IMF debts, and also not for global rentier economic extraction.

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