Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
December 22, 2021
Thank you, Mr. President.
The Security Council has a critical role to play in helping to address the suffering of the Afghan people and provide reassurance to UN and NGO implementers who are working hard to tackle the worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
An estimated 24 million vulnerable Afghans are facing increasing food insecurity, particularly with the onset of winter. This is unfortunately not a new situation for the people of Afghanistan, but their suffering is even more acute this year and the humanitarian community believes that they will require ongoing assistance.
The United States appreciates the dialogue with Member States, OCHA, UNICEF, the ICRC, and a wide range of other aid organizations on the importance of and challenges associated with delivering critical humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan since August 15, 2021. This is a dialogue we hope continues.
We fully understand that some donors, aid organizations, and financial institutions are still hesitant to deliver humanitarian assistance and undertake other activities to meet basic human needs in Afghanistan due to the risks associated with providing direct or indirect benefits to UN listed individuals who now control certain ministries. They have rightly assessed that the provision of such assistance could run afoul of UN sanctions against members of the Taliban and associated persons and entities.
Through this resolution we have proposed today, the Security Council can decide to exempt humanitarian assistance to enable more life-saving aid and other activities to meet basic human needs of the people of Afghanistan.
Specifically, this resolution provides an exemption from the UN Security Council assets freeze against listed members of the Taliban and associated entities solely for the provision of humanitarian assistance and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan, which the Council will review in one year.
We should be clear: this humanitarian exception is to facilitate aid to the people of Afghanistan, but it is not a blank check for any organization to disregard its international obligations.
Because of the uncertainty in Afghanistan, this resolution also requests the Emergency Relief Coordinator to periodically brief the Security Council on the delivery of such assistance, including any obstacles.
Specifically, the text requests the ERC to brief on humanitarian assistance-related payments to designated parties, any diversion of funds by the same, and any other obstacles to the provision of this critically important assistance. This will be critically important as this Council continuously assesses whether modifications are necessary, including when the Security Council reviews the resolution next December.
We hope everyone on this Council will support this resolution, and through it, the people of Afghanistan. We have done our best to take into account the varying views expressed by members of the Security Council during the course of negotiations. We are confident this resolution will enable the delivery of humanitarian assistance and other assistance to meet basic human needs in Afghanistan, where sanctions remain a critical component of the international community’s efforts to address the ongoing challenges to security and stability.
We ask that you vote to support it.
Thank you, Mr. President.