By Kevin Jenkins, President and Chief Executive Officer of World Vision International
Today, Mohammad El Halabi, World Vision staff member, pled not guilty to all charges made against him.
World Vision condemns any diversion of aid funding and strongly condemns any act of terrorism or support for those activities. None of the allegations against Mohammad El Halabi have been tested in an open court, and we support the ongoing presumption of his innocence.
World Vision has not seen any credible evidence supporting the charges. Access to any such evidence would help us address any potential gaps in our systems. We remain committed to understand the truth behind the allegations made against Mohammad El Halabi and determine what, if any, changes we need to make.
For several months, World Vision’s Gaza humanitarian work has been suspended as we conduct a thorough and wide-ranging review of our operations. This includes a forensic audit currently underway by a leading global accounting firm. This action is part of World Vision’s commitment to act in a fully transparent and open manner. The review to date has not generated any concerns about diversion of World Vision resources.
We remain deeply concerned with this situation, and are saddened by the impact on Gaza’s children and their families. Aid from the international community remains a lifeline for 1.1 million people in Gaza, and one in four children in Gaza are in need of psychosocial support.
World Vision works to assist vulnerable children in some of the most difficult contexts imaginable. It is tragic that this issue is taking us away from our work on important issues of injustice and poverty affecting billions of children around the world. We are committed to acting in a way that is transparent, respectful of the ongoing legal process, upholds our values as an organisation, and builds trust in humanitarian organisations.
World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. World Vision has worked in Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza since 1975.