UN approves exempting humanitarian aid from all UN sanctions


UN — The United Nations Security Council overwhelmingly adopted a resolution to exempt humanitarian aid from all current and future UN sanctions regimes, a repudiation. A vote that the United States hailed as “historic” would save lives and solve longstanding problems of sanctions impeding aid delivery.

The legally binding resolution was immediately praised by humanitarian organizations including the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mercy Corps and the Norwegian Refugee Council. “This resolution will protect humanitarian action from the crippling effects of sanctions regimes at a time of need,” said Secretary General Jan Egeland. is skyrocketing” and will be “the difference between life and death” for some.

The vote on the resolution co-sponsored by the United States and Ireland was 14-0 with India abstaining.

India’s UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said her country’s concerns stem from “proven cases of terrorist groups taking full advantage of such humanitarian activities and mocking them.” sanctions regimes” as well as “several cases of terrorist groups in our vicinity… precisely civil society organizations and groups to evade sanctions.”

To prevent such activities, she said, India had called for a resolution to ensure monitoring of humanitarian exemptions by UN experts overseeing sanctions and “strong reporting”. , which was not fully mentioned in the text, so India abstained.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the panel ahead of the vote that as the world’s leading global humanitarian donor, the United States recognizes that “we must all do everything in our power capacity to help humanitarian partners reach the world’s most vulnerable people, no matter where they live, who they live with and who controls their territories.

“Our goal has always been to stop terrorists and human rights abusers using a legitimate tool to maintain peace and security, yet allowing humanitarian efforts to save lives. those in difficulty are allowed to continue,” she said.

But the humanitarian community expressed concern about the impact of sanctions, particularly asset freezes, hindering assistance, and demanded “clearly defined, standardized humanitarian assistance and operations act to meet a basic human need for all UN sanctions regimes,” is what the resolution does. , says Thomas-Greenfield.

It states unequivocally that the activities of humanitarian and workers’ organizations “are authorized and do not violate an asset freeze order imposed by this board or its sanctions committees.”

Thomas-Greenfield told the AP news agency that while humanitarian aid waivers have been included in some Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions, “it’s not consistent, it’s not standardized.” “. This resolution standardizes exemptions and will help accelerate humanitarian efforts to make aid available to everyone, she said.

After the vote, Ireland’s Ambassador to the United Nations Fergal Mythen welcomed the adoption of the “landmark resolution” and said: “With this resolution we minimize the unintended consequences of the orders. sanctions without easing the UN sanctions themselves.”

He said the resolution “provides certainty and clarity” to humanitarian providers, donors and fulfillment partners that aid delivery is authorized. But he warned that while it was important, it was “not a panacea”, saying work needed to be done on other aspects of the UN sanctions including due process proceedings. .

Today, however, “we can rest assured that the council has taken decisive action in response to calls from humanitarian activists around the world,” Mythen said.

“This resolution will have a clear positive impact on those working in some of the most challenging environments globally, who can now continue to help the world’s most vulnerable people. knowing that even with UN sanctions in effect, their activities are still allowed,” he said. speak.


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