Spread the love

Canada still blocks aid to Afghanistan, NGOs deplore

Photo: AP-Rodrigo Abd The Canadian Press An Afghan woman dressed in a burqa begs while carrying her daughter at a teahouse in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 8, 2023. The Canadian government plans to give authorizations for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan by the end of the year.

Dylan Robertson – The Canadian Press in Ottawa

Published at 2:35 p.m.

  • Canada

Foreign aid organizations want the Canadian government to give them authorization more quickly to help the population in Afghanistan.

Aid workers can currently be prosecuted under the Criminal Code if they pay taxes or property charges to the Afghan Taliban authorities.

For the government to pay these taxes is the equivalent of financially supporting a terrorist organization.

The United States, the European Union and Australia have implemented exemptions as of February 2022 , or approximately six months after the Taliban came to power. According to the UN, 23.7 million Afghans are in need of humanitarian aid.

“It's extremely frustrating, if I may say so kindly. possible,” says Afghan Women's Organization President Asma Faizi.

Her group helps Afghan women living in Canada, Afghanistan and surrounding countries. He also runs an orphanage for girls in Kabul, the Afghan capital.

“Canadian organizations that want to intervene inside Afghanistan are ready to do so, but they are prohibited from doing so,” laments Ms. Faizi.

Federal elected officials have been asking the same thing for almost two years.

And in June, the Canadian Parliament adopted a bill aimed at facilitating humanitarian aid. The legislative measure created exceptions for humanitarian projects aimed in particular at providing health or education services.

However, the Ministry of Public Safety indicates that the The bureaucratic process for these authorizations will not be operational until the end of the year.

The federal government will need to create an authorization procedure for humanitarian workers.< /p>

For World Vision Canada, the delay in implementing this procedure means that it has been able to launch health and food programs on a humanitarian basis while putting the brakes on projects aimed at defending women's rights.

The exceptions provided are insufficient for some organizations, says World Vision policy manager Martin Fischer.

Organizations are also asking the government to better specify the type of work that they will be allowed to accomplish without fear of being indicted.

“And then there is this transfer of responsibilities,” laments Mr. Fisher, speaking of the obligation for organizations to determine for themselves what they must do to protect themselves against accusations.

Ms Faizi says there continues to be confusion over what will be allowed. She gives the example of vaccination programs which can be considered as long-term preventive aid, but also as a short-term reaction against the collapse of the health system and the spread of deadly disease.

Another example: mental health support programs usually classified as development aid. Ms. Faizi argues that they can also curb the wave of suicides among young Afghans, therefore, it is humanitarian aid.

She judges that the federal government does not respect not its own guidelines for helping feminists internationally.

The Afghan Women's Organization wants the government to be more flexible and realistic if we want to help women and girls living in unstable countries.

“The problem was born when we decided that Canada would commit to the creation of a very bureaucratic and very complex process, an unprecedented path,” says Ms. Faizi.

In a report released last week, the Ministry of Public Security indicated that “efforts to implement the authorization regime [are continuing].”

The federal government “plans to launch the plan by spring 2024 and will continue to work to achieve full operational capacity before the end of the year.”

A carrier word from the ministry indicated that authorization requests will be accepted this spring. “Efforts are underway to increase the number of team members administering this process.”

Senator Ratna Omidvar is among the politicians who have championed the bill.

She says she is “relieved” that some form of aid is reaching Afghanistan due to the humanitarian exceptions. Ms Omidyar hopes the government will act quickly so that more organizations can step in.

“I am concerned about the time it will take to set up the system and protocols. As soon as it concerns public safety, things will take longer for the most deprived.”

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116