INTERNATIONAL aid agencies in the UK have rebutted a suggestion
that donations for Syrian refugees are going to terrorist
A report in last Saturday's Daily Telegraph quoted the
Charity Commission chairman, William Shawcross, as saying that
money was "undoubtedly" going to extremists. Under the headline
"Charity millions going to Syrian terror groups", he is reported as
saying that conditions in the civil war made it difficult for
charities to know where aid goes.
The story stated that the Charity Commission was so concerned
that it had issued guidance to fund-raisers.
The story was immediately condemned by the Disasters Emergency
Committee, which represents 14 of the biggest charities in the UK,
and has raised £20 million since launching its Syria Crisis Appeal
In a statement describing the headline as "simply untrue", it
said: "There is no evidence that any funds from the DEC Syria
Crisis Appeal have been used to support armed groups in Syria.
"The Charity Commission has not suggested to the DEC that it has
specific concerns regarding the diversion of funds. In fact, the
DEC worked with the Commission to draft guidelines for charities to
help them avoid funds they raise for aid to Syria being
The chief executive of the DEC, Saleh Saeed, said: "We are truly
appalled that this story could mislead the British public . . . and
concerned that it may place the lives of aid workers in Syria at
Mr Shawcross issued a statement saying: "I can reassure donors
that known cases of terrorist abuse of charity funds are very
In its own statement, the Charity Commission said that its
recent guidance was intended to remind charity trustees of their
duties when working in high-risk areas. It said: "We want to
reassure the public that the established well-known charities
working in difficult areas have robust systems in place to ensure
their funds reach the intended beneficiaries."
Christian Aid said that it was "entirely satisfied" that its aid
reached the right people. "We have rigorous monitoring and
accountability measures in place," it said in a statement. "We have
a strong financial trail for this money."