India votes in favour of UNSC resolution to exempt humanitarian aid to Afghanistan from sanctions; says aid should be sans hindrance or partisan interests

India on Wednesday voted in favour of a UN Security Council resolution to grant exemption from sanctions for humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, even as it stressed that the assistance should be without any hindrance

Dec 23, 2021
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India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, TS Tirumurti

India on Wednesday voted in favour of a UN Security Council resolution to grant exemption from sanctions for humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, even as it stressed that the assistance should be without any hindrance. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, TS Tirumurti in his address said that the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is dire.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday adopted a resolution to exempt humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan from an asset freeze against designated leaders of the Taliban and associated entities. Resolution 2615, which won the unanimous approval of the 15-member council, decides that humanitarian assistance and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan are not a violation of the asset freeze stipulated in a 2015 Security Council resolution.

“We have seen reports that suggest that over half the population are facing crisis or emergency levels of acute food insecurity. Urgent humanitarian assistance is required to meet the basic food needs of the people, and most of the country is going below the poverty threshold,” the Indian representative said.

“The winter is already upon us. It is important that assistance be scaled up urgently and unhindered access be provided to the UN and other agencies,” Tirumurti stressed.

He said India has supported the call of the international community that access to humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan should be direct, and without any hindrance.

“Humanitarian assistance should be based on the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence. And disbursement of the aid should be non-discriminatory and accessible to all, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or political belief,” he said.

He said the assistance should reach the most vulnerable first, including women, children and minorities.

“At the same time, this Council should equally exercise its oversight on the delivery of assistance as well as guard against any possible diversion of funds.”

“This is essential since any diversion or misuse can be counterproductive,” he said, and welcomed the provision in the resolution which calls for a review of the implementation of humanitarian carveout after one year.

He said that India over the past two decades has contributed significantly to the development of Afghanistan, and cited the provision of half a million doses of vaccines and 1.6 metric tonnes of life-saving medicines to the country earlier this month.

Tirumurti said that India is also in the process of sending more medicines and food grains.

“India is ready to deliver urgent humanitarian aid consisting of foodgrains and medicine to the people of Afghanistan. We remain steadfast in our commitment to the people of Afghanistan.”

“We call on the international community and countries in the region to come together rising above partisan interests,” he said, in an indirect reference to Pakistan, which has been haggling with India over the dispatching of over 500,000 MT of wheat by road to Afghanistan.

He said India as the largest regional development partner of Afghanistan is willing to coordinate with other stakeholders to work towards enabling expeditious provision of much needed assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

Referring to the UNSC resolution 2593, adopted during India’s presidency in August, he said the resolution notes the commitment of the Taliban not to allow Afghan territory to be used by terrorists and terrorist groups, including those designated by the UN, and also calls for a representative and inclusive government and upholding of human rights.

He said that even as India caters to the immediate humanitarian needs of the people of Afghanistan, “our approach to Afghanistan will be guided by the commitments expected of the resolution 2593 and our long standing friendship with the people of Afghanistan”.(SAM)

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