OTTAWA: The Canadian government on Thursday announced that ‘terrorism financing laws’ will be amended to allow Canadian humanitarian aid organizations to help needy families in Afghanistan, following pressure from aid agencies.
Currently, Canadian aid organizations have ceased operations in Afghanistan due to some legal constraints which are in conflict with the established laws in Canada.
Over the past year and a half, humanitarian aid organizations have repeatedly complained about the Canadian government’s strict regulations. According to the aid organizations will have to pay taxes to the Taliban authorities while operating in Afghanistan.
Since Canada considers the Taliban as a de facto regime that forcefully seized power, operating under the group’s regime, will cause legal issues for aid agencies, as per the terrorism financing laws. To amend the laws, the government sent a bill to the parliament on Thursday.
As per the suggested bill, in order to operate in Afghanistan, humanitarian organizations will have to apply for an exemption from anti-terrorist laws, according to CBC news. After a thorough assessment, the Minister of Public Safety of Canada will either accept or reject the application.
Therefore, Canadian organizations will not have the full freedom to operate in Afghanistan. Marco E. L. Mendicino, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety said that amending the laws does not mean engaging with the Taliban, and as per the Canadian laws, the group will remain a de facto regime, not a legitimate government to represent Afghanistan.
Mendicino further added the Taliban have demonstrated that they do not value human rights and have committed “massive violations” against people, especially Afghan women and girls. As per the new law, aid organizations can provide essential assistance including food, shelter, healthcare services, and education to the people of Afghanistan during these difficult times. They can also launch programs to finance and help formers, and displaced people in the war-torn country.
Earlier, the United Nations said that some “time-critical” programs in Afghanistan have temporarily stopped and warned many other activities will also likely need to be paused because of a ban by the Taliban-led administration on women aid workers.
UN aid chief Martin Griffiths, the heads of UN agencies and several aid groups said in a joint statement that women’s “participation in aid delivery is not negotiable and must continue,” calling on the authorities to reverse the decision.
“Banning women from humanitarian work has immediate life-threatening consequences for all Afghans. Already, some time-critical programs have had to stop temporarily due to lack of female staff,” read the statement.
“We cannot ignore the operational constraints now facing us as a humanitarian community,” it said. “We will endeavor to continue lifesaving, time-critical activities…but we foresee that many activities will need to be paused as we cannot deliver principled humanitarian assistance without female aid workers.”
The ban on female aid workers was announced by the Taliban-led administration on Saturday. It follows a ban imposed last week on women attending universities. Girls were stopped from attending high school in March.
“No country can afford to exclude half of its population from contributing to society,” said the statement, which was also signed by the heads of UNICEF, the World Food Program, the World Health Organization, the UN Development Program, and the UN high commissioners for refugees and human rights. (Int’l News Desk)