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World Vision Gaza allegations

Greens overseas aid spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has called for the DFAT inquiry into allegations that World Vision's Gaza branch director Mohammad El Halabi diverted tens of millions of dollars to the military wing of Hamas to be quickly resolved to ensure the people of Gaza are not denied urgent humanitarian aid.

"It is vital that the allegations are speedily resolved to ensure there is no disruption of humanitarian aid going into Gaza," Senator Rhiannon said.

"Given the acute need for humanitarian assistance in the Palestinian Territories, the Greens urge that the Australian government's investigation is independent, transparent and immediate.

"The allegations from Israeli intelligence agency Shin bet are already under a cloud due to major discrepancies.

"There are claims that Mr Halabi diverted around $43 million to Hamas over a six year period, which falls short of the aid money allocated by World Vision for programs in Gaza.

"Mr Halabi has been interrogated for over 50 days and so far World Vision have not been briefed or seen any evidence of the allegations.

"I understand that World Vision is concerned that their employee has been detained and interrogated for this long period, with no access to a lawyer for 25 days.

"There are reports from human rights organisations published earlier this year detailing that Shin bet used torture against ‘security detainees'.

"World Vision are independently audited each year and say that they have seen no evidence to verify these claims.

"DFAT's internal annual audit program is responsible for investigating fraud, including by NGOs and other contractors. If DFAT have evidence of fraudulent activity relating to Australian aid delivery then they should publicly release it immediately," Senator Rhiannon said.


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