2004 Press Release

Saudi Arabia Tightens Control on Charity Abroad
New Commission Will Allow Overseas Aid to Resume Under Strict Regulation

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has completely reorganized its international relief and charity work to guard against the possibility of funds falling into the hands of terrorists. On February 27, 2004, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz issued a royal order approving the creation of the Saudi National Commission for Relief and Charity Work Abroad, which will take over all aspects of overseas aid operations and assume responsibility for the distribution of charitable donations from Saudi Arabia.

For the last eight months, no funds have been transferred from Saudi Arabia to any accounts of Saudi charities outside the Kingdom.  After the commission is up and running, Saudi charities will be allowed to resume overseas operations under the new guidelines that protect against misappropriation.

Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan stated: “We need to send money to those without food, medicine or shelter, but we also have to be certain that the money we send will go to the right people, for the right purpose.  This new commission will ensure that terrorists cannot take advantage of the desperately needed humanitarian aid that we provide.”

According to a statement by the Royal Court, the commission will “eliminate from charitable Saudi operations abroad any misdeeds that might undermine them or distort their reputation.”  The commission will be administered by citizens who have previous experience in charity work, and its new regulations will be announced in the upcoming weeks.