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ISLAMABAD: The extraordinary session of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers on Sunday decided to set up a humanitarian trust fund under the aegis of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to channel humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in partnership with other international actors. In a unanimously passed resolution, the participants of the moot expressed solidarity with the Afghans and reiterated the commitment of OIC member states to help bring peace, security, stability, and development to Afghanistan.

The extraordinary summit was convened after the UN warned that 60pc of Afghanistan’s 38 million people may face crisis levels of hunger and that the situation was getting worse with each passing day. The OIC also expressed deep alarm at the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and affirmed its solidarity with Afghan people in their quest for a peaceful, united, stable, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan.

The moot urged Afghanistan government to abide by principles enshrined in UN and OIC charters, as well as, honour its commitments under international agreements under international human rights covenants especially with regards to rights of women, children, youth, elderly and people. The resolution noted that the United Nations system to pursue joint operation with OIC for the delivery of urgent humanitarian aid would be appreciated.

It called upon the international community to provide urgent, and sustained humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, as well as, to the major Afghan refugee-hosting countries. The moot urged the international community in general, and the UN Security Council in particular to ensure that existing targeted sanctions do not impede the provision of humanitarian aid or economic resources to preserve the institutions, schools and hospitals in Afghanistan.

It affirmed the importance of sustained engagement of the international community with Afghanistan, especially in supporting humanitarian and development needs of the Afghan people. Acknowledging that Afghanistan is facing serious liquidity challenges, it expressed resolve to continue focusing on measures to ease access to legitimate banking services.

Underscoring that Afghanistan’s access to its financial resources would be pivotal in preventing a collapse and in reviving the economic activity, it recognized the importance of taking related actions such as unlocking the channels of financial and in-kind flow of assistance and resources to the people of Afghanistan, and exploring realistic pathways towards unfreezing Afghanistan’s financial assets.

Afghan humanitarian crisis: OIC moot to bridge gap between Taliban, world community: Qureshi

It was also decided that OIC General Secretariat together with IDB and Humanitarian Trust Fund will commence discussions with the UN system organizations to device a roadmap for mobilizing actions in relevant fora to unlock the financial and banking channels to resume liquidity and flow of financial and humanitarian assistance. The moot urged IDB to expeditiously operationalize the Humanitarian Trust Fund by the first quarter of 2022.

It also called upon OIC member states, the Islamic financial institutions, donors and other international partners to announce pledges to the Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan, as well as, to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. It was also decided that OIC General Secretariat will engage with World Health Organization and other relevant stakeholders for securing vaccines, as well as, other medical supplies, technical and related assistance for Afghan people in context of Covid-19 pandemic and other persistent and emerging health concerns.

The moot also decided to launch an Afghanistan Food Security Programme, and requested the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) to undertake necessary work in this regard using the capacity of the Organization’s Food Security Reserves, when necessary. The moot reiterates its call on the OIC Secretary-General to engage with donor financial institutions to provide necessary humanitarian and economic assistance to Afghanistan, as well as, Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries.

It appealed OIC member states, international community including the UN system, international organizations, and international financial institutions to continue to provide all possible and necessary recovery, reconstruction, development, financial, educational, technical and material assistance for Afghanistan as policy tools to promote realization and enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms by all Afghan citizens.

Reaffirming the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan, it said that the territory of Afghanistan is not used as a platform or safe haven by any terrorist group or organization.

It called upon Afghanistan to take concrete steps against all terrorist organizations in particular Al-Qaeda, Deash and its affiliates, ETIM, and TTP, adding peace, security and stability in Afghanistan would contribute to safe and dignified return of all Afghan refugees, and internally displaced persons and to play their constructive role in the development of Afghanistan.

The moot urged the international community to remain cautious against the possibility of incitement and the role of spoilers, both inside and outside the country, to derail efforts aimed at peace and stability in Afghanistan.

It particularly called upon the Afghan authorities to continue to work towards greater inclusiveness and including by developing a roadmap to strengthen participation of all Afghans including women and girls to participate in all aspects of the Afghan society.

It underscored the need for concerted efforts to rebuild the necessary capacity of the relevant state institutions of Afghanistan to address challenges posed by terrorism, narcotics, smuggling, money laundering, organized crime, and irregular migration.

The moot decided to appoint Ambassador Tarig Ali Bakheet, Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian, Cultural and Family Affairs at the OIC General Secretariat, as special envoy of OIC secretary general for Afghanistan.

The moot also requested OIC secretary general to arrange for a delegation of prominent religious scholars and Ulama led by International Islamic Fiqh Academy to engage with Afghanistan on issues of vital concern, such as, but not limited to, tolerance and moderation in Islam, equal access to education and women’s rights in Islam.

Meanwhile, the moot also adopted Islamabad Declaration, concerning Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif, expressing resolve to take necessary measures to defend the holy city of Al-Quds and at all levels including international institutions and courts, continue providing assistance to the State of Palestine.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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