Qatar Makes Substantial Investment in Hostage Recovery


Qatar Makes Substantial Investment in Hostage Recovery

(WASHINGTON, DC, March 5, 2019) – The Richardson Center today announced a one-year grant to the Richardson Center for Global Engagement (Richardson Center) to fund efforts to secure the safe release of persons held hostage or detained abroad. The grant is part of a five-year program that the Richardson Center is building to enhance private sector efforts to support efforts to release hostages and political prisoners wherever they may be.

The Richardson Center is a US-based non-profit organization that works on behalf of families to release loved ones being held by hostile regimes, terrorists and criminal organizations. On the foundation of Governor Bill Richardson’s four decades of service as a U.S. Congressman, Ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary of Energy, and Governor of New Mexico, the Richardson Center aggressively pursues the release of people unfairly detained, including journalists and prisoners of conscience. The Richardson Center recently played a role in the effort to have North Korea release American student, Otto Warmbier, from captivity; helped returnMarine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi from Mexico; and helped resolve more than 20 other cases.  On five occasions, the U.S. Congress has recommended Governor Richardson for a Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work on behalf of hostages and political prisoners, including the Richardson Center’s nomination for the 2019 Prize. The Richardson Center’s work is also supported by the Norwegian Government, Open Society Foundation and multiple individual donors and foundations.

Qatar’s Ambassador to the United States, Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani commented, “Qatar has long sought out ways to support hostage recovery. Governor Richardson has an excellent reputation and a track record of success in this area and we are glad to have partnered with the Richardson Center to support their humanitarian mission. We believe that effective public-private partnerships can yield results when lives are at stake and welcome their role in bringing family members home safely.”

“We have operated behind the scenes in North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Iran, and other locations where people – principally Americans – have been detained against their will. Oftentimes, we are the last resort for a family on their worst day. This funding by Qatar is a substantial commitment to help us expand our capacity and reunite more families with their loved ones. I am personally grateful for the Government of Qatar’s leadership,” said Governor Richardson.

Richardson Center Executive Director Mickey Bergman added, “When a government approach works, we are glad to see it. But we recognize that some situations can be better addressed by a third party. The funding provided by Qatar will allow us to expand our team, engage in more on the ground activities, and provide even greater support to families in their darkest hours. We welcome assistance from governments, corporations, foundations, and individuals – there is always more that we can do.”

Contact: Mickey Bergman, Executive Director, Richardson Center for Global Engagement

Phone: (703) 944-3995