The Swiss foundation, Geneva Call, is hosting a restricted-access conference to find out how unimpeded humanitarian assistance can be delivered to the people of Afghanistan.
A delegation of Taliban leaders is holding a series of meetings with officials from the Red Cross and aid officials from various European countries in Geneva. They are discussing the the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and the possibility of receiving aid for the Afghan people.
None of the European countries recognise Afghanistan’s Taliban government and officials have said that this meeting is only because the Red Cross and the European governments are concerned about the crisis in the country. People don’t have enough food, there is large-scale unemployment, hospitals are overflowing with patients and there is a shortage of drugs. Besides, the winter is taking a toll.
Aid agencies say that 23 million Afghan people are at risk of malnutrition and 97 per cent of the population lives below the poverty level. The armed conflict over years has left the country in bad shape and the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic consequences have had a deep impact on the country.
The meeting is being hosted by the Swiss foundation, Geneva Call, and will go on until Friday. It is a “restricted-access conference aiming at enhancing unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan,” according to the Swiss Foundation.
The country is facing a complex emergency due to past overlapping armed conflicts, COVID-19 and its socio-economic consequences, and extreme weather.
There have been unconfirmed reports of Afghan citizens selling body organs to be able to buy food in recent weeks. These have also been accompanied by disturbing visuals of people displaying their bodies with identical surgical marks suggesting the harvesting of organs from a poor and vulnerable populaiton.
Geneva is perceived as a neutral place for such negotiations, especially negotiations revolving around international humanitarian law and has therefore been identified as the most relevant location to hold such humanitarian discussions, according to the Swiss Foundation.
The conference has been a restricted-access one, according to the organisation, “to discuss the status of humanitarian assistance, the protection of civilians, respect of health care and the issue of landmines and explosive remnants of war in Afghanistan.”
“Respect for and promotion of international humanitarian norms are essential for the protection of the Afghan population and can contribute toward peace and stability,” says Geneva Call, explaining its invitation to Taliban leaders and officials.
With a view to strengthen the implementation of- and respect for humanitarian norms in Afghanistan, the closed-door humanitarian event, it is hoped, will facilitate the discussion on practical issues related to improving compliance with humanitarian norms at the national and district levels through an adjustment of policies related to safe passage of humanitarian aid to the Afghan population.