UK launches Hajj Consular Delegation
Dr. Mozammel Haque
The 14th Hajj Consular Delegation to accompany British pilgrims to Saudi Arabia has been launched today, the 19th of October 2012 by the Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds.
This is the 14th year of the Hajj Consular Delegation, which has now provided consular support to thousands of British Hajjis.
Foreign Office Minister responsible for Consular Services, Mark Simmonds said: “We understand how deeply important the Hajj is to the Muslim community and I have been taking a keen interest in preparations for the Hajj Consular Delegation. We are absolutely committed to providing appropriate Consular services to British Pilgrims during Hajj through having consular officers on the ground in Makkah and Jeddah. Last year we provided a wide range of consular support, including replacing emergency travel documentation and supporting British pilgrims who required urgent medical assistance.”
Foreign Office Minister acknowledged the excellent facilities and services provided by Saudi Arabian government to all pilgrims. He said, “Saudi Arabia provides excellent facilities and services to all pilgrims and I would like to thank Saudi Arabia for everything it does for British Pilgrims on Hajj.”
Foreign Office Minister Mr. Simmonds wished a peaceful, successful and rewarding pilgrimage to those undertaking Hajj this year. “Effective preparation by pilgrims – such as ensuring they have appropriate travel insurance and carry copies of their passports and other important documentation – is key to ensuring a safe and trouble-free Hajj. I hope that all those undertaking Hajj this year will have a peaceful, successful and rewarding pilgrimage,” he said.
Approximately 25,000 British Muslims are expected to participate in this year Hajj. A British Hajj Delegation (BHD) has been based in Makkah every year since 1999. This year’s Hajj is expected to take place from 24-29 October.
Foreign Office press release mentioned, “Our focus remains providing appropriate support to those in need.”
“Last year the consular delegation provided a wide range of support to British Muslims. This included: providing emergency travel documentation to replace lost or stolen passports; support to hospitalised pilgrims; making the necessary logistical and bureaucratic arrangements for bereaved families in the event of death and advice to British pilgrims who were victims of unscrupulous tour operators and assisting referring these cases to the Ministry of Hajj,” it said.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised British Pilgrims to visit the FCO website for travel advice and 2012 Hajj information leaflets (website at: www.fco.gov.uk)
The Delegation will be located at the Elaf Kinda Hotel, Makkah. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides 24-hour telephone support for British pilgrims. Please contact Saudi number 00966 (0) 501 128 731.