The last lifeline for Somali families to close

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Once again the Somali Remittance System (or ‘hawala’), a vital lifeline and the only channel for the Somali Diaspora members to support their loved ones in Somalia, is at Risk.

It is well known that most US banks stopped doing business with Somali Money-Service business known as Hawalas and now, the last bank to allow money transfers to Somalia has threatened to shut remittance accounts on 6th of February 2015.

“Somali-Americans are people of good faith with strong sense of helping those they left behind. They understand what it means to be a refugee and to lack the basic necessities for survival and they have right to conduct their banking activities without additional difficulties” said Sadik Warfa, the Deputy Director of Global Somali Diaspora.

The money the Diaspora sends home is the only source of income for families in Somalia and other regions, and closing the bank will have dire consequences for the most vulnerable; women, children and the elderly. This is a violation of their human rights.

Global Somali Diaspora (GSD) urgently requests a reprieve by Merchants Bank of California, as Somali Americans will not be able to send much needed money for families in Somalia to survive. Merchants Bank of California is putting lives at risk with their decision to close the Somali Remittance Accounts. This decision is drastic and unnecessary.

GSD, an international organisation that aims to promote, advance, and empower Somali communities in the Diaspora is urging the Bank and the American government for a long term solution that can keep open this vital lifeline for Somalis who rely on the remittance to meet their most basic of needs.