See statement below from Refugees International’s President Eric Schwartz:
Refugees International welcomes the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1615 on the 1988 Afghanistan sanctions regime. The resolution makes clear that the provision of “humanitarian assistance and other activities that support human needs in Afghanistan” will not constitute a violation of the UN sanctions on individuals and entities associated with the Taliban.
But much more needs to be done, as the people of Afghanistan are on the brink of a catastrophe.
As the UN has warned, some 23 million Afghans could soon reach crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity. In certain areas, there is a very real possibility of famine. One million children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition and could die.
To avoid depravation on an overwhelming scale, the United States, and other donors, as well as the United Nations, must urgently drive three sets of actions:
- Massively scale-up humanitarian assistance and capacity to provide relief: The UN estimates Afghanistan will need $4.5 billion in humanitarian assistance in 2022. The United States and other donors must move quickly to fund the UN’s appeal—and support the strengthening of the capacity of UN and others to deliver the aid.
- Support the delivery of critically needed basic services and address a liquidity crisis: Without payment of salaries to teachers, to health workers, and to others who provide basic services, humanitarian aid will not be enough—essential workers will leave Afghanistan and millions of Afghans will suffer. No amount of relief aid will plug the gaping hole left by the collapse of the Afghan financial and banking system—the U.S. and others must take urgent steps to address the liquidity crisis.
- Recognize that many Afghans need to flee—and support refuge within the region and resettlement in the United States and other countries: Under any circumstances, the coming crisis will result in the forced movement of people desperate to flee Afghanistan. Pakistan, Iran, and other neighboring governments must provide refuge. The United States and other donor countries must press neighboring governments to play this role and support them financially. They must also make clear that refugee resettlement of Afghans—to the United States and other countries—will continue.
These actions are all achievable. What is missing is the political will to move quickly and boldly to avoid the needless suffering of millions of Afghans.
For more information or to schedule an interview please contact Refugees International Director of Communications Sarah Sheffer at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 202 540 7029.