* Co-operation between QRCS and WHO Foundation:
Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) on Monday launched an international campaign to raise $100mn in support of the provision of Covid-19 vaccines for 3,650,000 refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and migrants in 20 countries.
The launch of the campaign was announced by Sheikh Abdullah bin Thamer al-Thani, president of QRCS, and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Representatives of partners and contributors participated in the online press conference held in this regard.
The campaign comes amid a critical humanitarian situation, wherein Covid-19 remains a considerable threat to many lives. Inspired by its sense of responsibility, QRCS is launching this humanitarian drive in support of the World Health Organisation Foundation.
The #IAmVaccinatedIDonated initiative will be carried out under a large-scale campaign to mobilise support at the government, institutional and individual levels. It involves a public advocacy campaign for Covid-19 vaccine equity and to leave no one behind, with the support of everyone, as no one is safe until everyone is safe, QRCS has said in a statement.
Sheikh Abdullah delivered a speech, saying: “I have the pleasure today to launch, on behalf of all staff and volunteers of QRCS, this humanitarian campaign with the aim to reach those living in humanitarian emergencies or in settings where they are at risk of being left behind and must be part of Covid-19 vaccination efforts. We are honoured to announce that the campaign will also provide an unprecedented ability for Muslims around the world to use Zakat money to support Covid-19 vaccination efforts, in compliance with the rules of Islamic Shariah. As Muslims around the world are welcoming the holy month of Ramadan, the time of spirituality, mercy, good deeds, solidarity and redoubled reward, we hope they will join this unique effort."
Dr Ghebreyesus said, “While the pandemic has affected all of us, the poorest and the most marginalised have been hit hardest – both in terms of the lives and livelihoods lost. The inequitable distribution of vaccines is not just a moral outrage; it is also economically and epidemiologically self-defeating. The choice of the Qatari people, and other peoples in the region, to direct their Zakat to vaccine equity is an affirmation that we are all in this fight together. We are one global community."
HE the Minister of Endowments (Awqaf) and Islamic Affairs Dr Ghaith bin Mubarak al-Kuwari said, “As the Covid-19 pandemic is one of the strongest calamities affecting people around the world in our time, we must unite in order to limit its spread and provide vaccines for people without discrimination between the rich and the poor, or north, south, east and west.
“The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in Qatar is pleased to be among the contributors to this campaign, to protect human souls from Covid-19, by providing vaccines for refugees and migrants. The ministry will contribute QR10mn from the Health Care Endowment Fund."
Ambassador Ali bin Khalfan al-Mansouri, Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations in Geneva, noted: “This is an admirably generous humanitarian initiative that seeks to vaccinate the most vulnerable refugees, IDPs and migrants everywhere. They are desperately in need for vaccination. It is not something new for Qatar, which has always been at the forefront of benevolent work and support for regional and international efforts. Within the parameters of international cooperation, Qatar holds at all times a sense of international collective responsibility for responding to disasters and epidemics like Covid-19."
He emphasised the commitment of the Permanent Mission of Qatar in Geneva to whatever it takes to support the country’s international cooperation and strengthen its partnerships with Geneva-based international organisations, including WHO.
Dr Hilal Musaed al-Sayer, president of Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) and member of the Permanent Committee, added: “We have to say thank you to QRCS for this humanitarian initiative, which is normal for our brothers and sisters in Qatar. This initiative is a top priority that humanitarians hope to take much farther. KRCS supports this initiative to serve humanity. Vaccination will pave the way to a gradual return to normal life. Even though ensuring every form of a decent standard of living is the top priority for refugees and displaced people, it all depends on vaccination, which is crucial for putting an end to this global emergency. So, donation will protect them, and protect us too, against the coronavirus."
Anil Soni, CEO of WHO Foundation, said: “I salute QRCS for launching today an initiative to call on Qataris to see in Zakat an opportunity to reach out, through WHO, and help ensure that everyone has access to vaccines. By acting in solidarity, we can keep each other safe. Thank you to everyone involved in this campaign, and thank you to everyone who contributes to it. Together, we can defeat this pandemic."
Murat Ellialti, vice-president of the Turkish Red Crescent, said: “I would like to express my gratitude and sincere thanks to QRCS and the State of Qatar for launching this campaign and their generous support to the refugees and the displaced around the world. Being a leading humanitarian organisation of a country hosting the largest number of refugees globally, the Turkish Red Crescent would be honoured to support this campaign, not only financially but also with promotion and advocacy of the rights of refugees, migrants and IDPs."
Dr Hussam Elsharkawi, regional director of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), thanked Sheikh Abdullah for this generous initiative.
“Noticeably, there have recently been stark inequalities in the availability of vaccines in our region and the world,” said Dr Elsharkawi. “I hope this work will address that situation, as we are all in the same boat. Being the world’s largest humanitarian network, IFRC is ready to contribute technical support and practical expertise to make sure that vaccination is done up to international standards."
Dr Omar Odeh, head of the Regional Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), added: “I'd like to sincerely thank Qatar and the Qatar Red Crescent Society for hosting this initiative to support the provision of Covid-19 vaccines for refugees, migrants and IDPs. ICRC joins the calls to avoid a narrow conception of vaccination needs and looking far beyond national borders."