Statement regarding donated clothesThe Danish Refugee Council (DRC) would like to clarify a couple of issues regarding distribution of donated clothes in Tanzania in response to erroneous reports in various media outlets. No inappropriate clothing items were handed over to refugees and asylum seekers – and this matter was handled in full cooperation with local authorities.
In October, DRC received second hand clothes from Japan through UNHCR for distribution to refugees and host community members. Among the clothes were a small number of camouflaged clothing items, therefore DRC immediately reported to UNHCR colleagues that these items were not appropriate for distribution. UNHCR agreed that the items should be immediately withdrawn from the distribution, and that the clothing should be handed over to local authorities and police.
DRC adheres to global humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. As soon as the presence of these clothes of military style appearance was discovered, all parties involved in the distribution agreed that they must be removed immediately. At no time were these particular clothes ever intended for distribution to refugees, nor were any of them handed over to refugees.
All items with a military appearance were removed and set aside in secure storage in the warehouses under lock and key. In total, 1,947 items of clothing with military appearance were removed from the consignment. This constitutes 0.1% of the total consignment of 1,826,100 pieces of clothes. The rest of the clothes have been distributed to persons of concern.
We have since reiterated to donors that clothes made of military style fabrics are unacceptable and to refrain from supplying such clothes in the future.