India abstains from voting on a US-led resolution at the UNSC allowing aid to sanctioned entities

During the UN Security Council meeting on Friday, India abstained from voting on a US-led resolution that allowed humanitarian aid to be delivered to sanctioned entities around the world, including the Pakistan-based terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

On Friday, the United States and Ireland introduced a UNSC resolution giving humanitarian relief to organizations under UN sanctions. Essentially, the carve-out is an exemption or exception for humanitarian reasons.

Except for India, all members of the UNSC supported the resolution. Aside from India, which is currently holding the rotating presidency of the UNSC, no other country abstained.

A resolution adopted by the UNSC states that the UNSC determines that β€œthe provision, processing, or payment of funds, other financial assets, or economic resources, or the provision of goods and services necessary to ensure timely delivery of humanitarian assistance or to support other activities that support basic human needs” are permitted and do not violate the asset freeze imposed by the [Sanctions Committees] or the Council as a whole”.

A wide range of entities are excluded, including UN programmes, funds, agencies, humanitarian organizations with observer status at the General Assembly, and certain nongovernmental organizations.

The Permanent Representative of India, Ruchira Kamboj, explained the vote by saying this resolution provides a carve-out from sanctions in support of humanitarian assistance or other activities that meet basic human needs. While extending humanitarian assistance to proscribed entities under 1267, India will call for caution and due diligence, referring to Pakistan’s support for LeT and JeM, which continue to thrive in territories universally recognized as terrorist havens by the international community with full state hospitality.”

Our concerns stem from proven instances of terrorist groups taking advantage of such humanitarian carve-outs, and mocking sanctions regimes, such as that of the 1267 Sanctions Committee.”. A number of terrorist organizations have also reincarnated themselves as humanitarian organizations and civil society groups in order to evade these sanctions, including those listed by this Council. According to her, terrorist organizations utilize the humanitarian assistance sector as a means of raising funds and recruiting fighters.

As we did during the negotiation process, we reiterate that under no circumstances should the garb of humanitarian cover provided by these exemptions be exploited by proscribed terrorist groups for the purpose of expending their terror activities throughout the region and beyond. More importantly, such exemptions should not be used to facilitate the ‘mainstreaming’ of terror entities in our region’s political space. In implementing this resolution, extreme caution and due diligence are essential,” said Kamboj.

The Deccan Era has reported that the Indian negotiators worked hard to get the review period for these measures to be extended after two years, as well as allowing humanitarian aid to be provided only by UN-approved organizations.

For this very reason, India sought a proactive role for the 1267 Monitoring Team within the text of the resolution, as well as robust reporting standards and mechanisms. It is regrettable that the final text adopted today did not fully address these specific concerns. Kamboj expressed her hope that this shortcoming would be rectified in the future.

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