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February 17th, 2023

NDP MP urges Liberals to lift restrictions on humanitarian organizations providing aid in Afghanistan immediately

OTTAWA – Eighteen months after the fall of Kabul, New Democrats are once again urging the Liberal government to lift barriers preventing Canadians from providing aid in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, a motion from NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Heather McPherson (Edmonton-Strathcona) was adopted unanimously by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee, calling on the government to immediately amend sections of the Criminal Code currently preventing Canadian humanitarian organizations from delivering aid in Afghanistan.

“While other countries have already created humanitarian carve-outs or exemptions to allow their agencies to operate in Afghanistan, Canada hasn’t,” said McPherson. “This means millions of Afghans in desperate need of assistance are not being reached. We have called on the Liberals to fix this many times but, 18 months later, aid agencies are still waiting.”

Afghanistan is in acute humanitarian crisis, with soaring food prices, insecurity and lack of access to basic services likely to cause widespread suffering and many deaths. A huge funding shortfall means that agencies operating in Afghanistan do not have the resources to meet the needs of Afghans this year.

“There’s no excuse for this delay,” said McPherson. “The Liberal government needs to table legislation to fix the Criminal Code now, so we can get aid to Afghans immediately. A feminist government would have fixed this last year. It’s time for the Liberals to take their responsibilities seriously, keep their promises, and do the work necessary to help the world’s most vulnerable.”