Human Concern International

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Human Concern International (HCI) is a Canadian, federally registered, charitable non-governmental organization (NGO) working in international development and emergency relief assistance since 1980.[1][2][3]

From the HCI website:

"HCI is a non-profit organization dedicated to help alleviate human suffering through sustainable development projects and emergency relief assistance programs that foster self-reliance and preserves human dignity"

Their focus was largely on Afghan orphans, building schools as well as "Hope Village", a small community composed almost entirely of orphan children.[4]

Financial Arrangements

The total expenditures of HCI on activities, programs and projects carried on outside Canada during the fiscal period ending 2009-03-31, excluding gifts to qualified donees, is 7,892,935 Canadian dollars. HCI's total expenditure on all compensation during the fiscal period ending 2009-03-31 is 194,639 Canadian dollars. HCI exported medical supplies during the fiscal period ending 2009-03-31 as part of its charitable programs valued 5,344,797 Canadian dollars.[5]

Criticism and alleged support for Islamists

HCI reportedly began in 1979 to support the people in Afghanistan.[6] Dedicated to feeding and schooling orphans, the organisation co-sponsored a Human Rights day at Pennsylvania State University in 1986.[7]

The charity was put under closer scrutiny after Osama bin Laden told a 1995 interviewer that "The bin-Laden Establishment's aid covers 13 countries... this aid comes in particular from the Human Concern International Society"[8]

Ahmed Khadr headed HCI's Pakistan office until his arrest in 1995 for that bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan that was allegedly carried out with HCI funds.[2] Under his leadership, the Hope Village Orphanage was created in Akora Khattak.[9]

HCI denies its own involvement and describes Khadr as a volunteer from 1988 to 1995, working in Pakistan and Afghanistan on relief and development projects. [10]

In 1996, the Pakistani press accused HCI's Peshawar office of being made up of Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya members, who supported the overthrow of the secular Egyptian government in favour of a Sharia state.[11]

Canada cut off government financing in 1997 to HCI. As of 2000 the group was being investigated by the United States.[12] In 1999, the group filed an application for judicial review of a decision by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to refuse funding the organization's activities. It claimed it was being discriminated against by Canadian government officials.[13] The group maintains its registration in Canada (BN/Registration Number: 107497125RR0001).[14]

In 2003, Richard A. Clarke testified before the U.S. Congress that HCI "reportedly received at least $250,000 in funding from the Canadian government."[2] The Canadian government ended its financial support to HCI in 1997 for suspicion of terrorist involvement.[15]

An organization based in the U.S. and named Human Concern International was one of ten Islamic charities noted by Spanish police in 2002 for allegedly financing Algerian Muslim rebels. [16] HCI reported that it is not the organization referred to in these allegations and that it has offices only in Canada, Lebanon, Pakistan and Guyana.[13]

Statements by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS):

[17] Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) is an independent, external review body which reports to the Parliament of Canada on the operations of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS or the Service). SIRC ensures that CSIS powers are used legally and appropriately, in order to protect Canadians’ rights and freedoms.

[18] Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) reported a decision on a complaint made pursuant to Section 41 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act by HCI, alleging that the Service made a false statement to the Federal Court of Canada, via the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. It was further alleged that a document filed by both Ministers was based on CSIS information that the Service knew—or ought to have known—would impugn the character, reputation and standing of the complainant. Furthermore, HCI maintained that not being party to the court proceedings meant there was no formal opportunity to challenge a statement by the Service that was later published in two Canadian newspapers.

Upon receipt of this complaint, SIRC encouraged the two parties to seek an alternative resolution of this dispute. When these discussions failed, SIRC undertook its own investigation. It found that the Service had made an unsubstantiated allegation about the complainant in its advice to the Ministers of Public Safety and Citizenship and Immigration which was in turn presented to the Federal Court. As well, SIRC found that CSIS knew that reliance would be placed on its advice by both the Ministers of Public Safety and Citizenship and Immigration, as well as the Federal Court. For this reason, and since HCI was not given an opportunity to respond to the impugned statement, CSIS should have taken care to avoid making an unsubstantiated statement which could lead to injury or loss of support and funding.


SIRC recommended that:

1. CSIS formally retract this particular statement and that it do so by informing the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Minister of Public Safety, the Federal Court of Canada and the publishers of two newspapers; and

2. CSIS apologize to HCI for having made an unsubstantiated statement.

Apology from the National Post

The National Post apologized, on April 26, 2004, for a March 6, 2004 editorial.[10] The apology said, in part:

"The National Post has no reason to believe that there is evidence of any misuse of HCI funds to support terrorism. HCI itself has never been accused of terrorism or of supporting terrorism. The Post has no reason to believe that any of its other volunteers or staff have been accused of terrorism or of supporting terrorism.
"Incorrect information appeared in an editorial in the National Post of March 6. The National Post apologizes to HCI, its board of directors, volunteers and donors for any harm or embarrassment its errors may have caused."


  1. Human Concern International Website
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Statement of Richard A. Clarke, United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, October 22, 2003
  3. Craig Forcese, Catherine Archibald, Clare Crummey, Nassim Ghassemi, Andrew Harrington, Lindsey Marchessault, Miguel Mendes, Ajmal Pashtoonyar, Shaun Pugin, Sean Richmond (2008-01). "REPATRIATION OF OMAR KHADR TO BE TRIED UNDER CANADIAN LAW: An Overview of the Case Against Omar Khadr and the Prospect of Canadian Criminal Jurisdiction". University of Ottawa. Archived from the original on 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2012-08-14. "It has been alleged in the midst of the Soviet war with Afghanistan, Ahmad Sa’id – while pursuing charitable activities with Human Concern International (HCI) – met with Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan where they fought together in the Afghan war.3 Although allegations have been made that Ahmad Khadr used his position at HCI to “funnel money for terrorist purposes” the non-profit organization has firmly denied it.4 Four years later, in 1992, Ahmad Said was nearly killed after stepping on a land mine in Afghanistan." 
  4. Amnesty International, Abdullah Almaliki: A Brief Biography
  5. Canada Revenue Agency, 2009 Registered Charity Information Return for Human Concern International
  6. J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins (2006). Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-85730-9. 
  7. Kearney, Susan. Penn State Daily Collegian. "Human rights stressed today", October 22, 1986
  8. Burnett, et al. v. al Baraka Investment and Development Corp., et al., Jan. 18, 2005.
  9. Human Concern International, Rehabilitating and Reconstructing a Torn Land, Afghanistan
  10. 10.0 10.1 National Post Apologizes to Human Concern International, South Asia Partnership Canada, April 26, 2004
  11. Central Intelligence Agency, Report on NGOs With Terror Links, 1996
  12. Miller, Judith, New York Times, "Some charities suspected of terrorist role", February 19, 2000
  13. 13.0 13.1 Canadian Charity Claims Religious Discrimination Kutty, Faisal, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July/August 1999
  14. Canadian Registered Charities, Canada Revenue Agency, Canadian Registered Charities, March 9, 2010
  15. Some Charities Suspected of Terrorist Role, Judith Miller, February 19, 2000
  16. Spain charity terror link alleged, CNN, December 8, 2002
  17. Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) SIRC Website
  18. Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) SIRC Annual Report 2006-2007

External links