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Editorial of the Day (28th Mar): Humanitarian Aid-Ethical Concerns

Context: Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State, highlighted that Gaza’s entire population faces severe acute food insecurity. This situation is unprecedented globally.

Politics of Humanitarian Aid

  • UNRWA Funding Halt: Following Blinken’s remarks, the U.S. Congress stopped funding the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) until March 2025, the key agency delivering aid to Palestinian refugees.
  • Impact on Palestinian Refugees: Defunding UNRWA implies a tacit derecognition of Palestinian refugees and ignores their right of return, a core issue for Palestinian statehood.

Gaza’s Humanitarian Situation

  • S. Response: Despite Blinken’s statement, the U.S. did not pressure Israel to allow aid convoys into Gaza but instead air-dropped food packets, insufficient for the population’s needs.
  • Violence During Aid Delivery: An incident occurred where Israeli soldiers shot Palestinians waiting for food, resulting in deaths and injuries, demonstrating the dire consequences of politicising aid.
  • UN Secretary General’s Condemnation: Antonio Guterres expressed moral outrage over the blockade of humanitarian aid to Gaza, citing it as a violation of international law.

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International Response

  • UN Security Council’s Stance: The UNSC called for a ceasefire during Ramadan and demanded humanitarian access, with the U.S. abstaining from the vote.
  • Israel’s Compliance Questioned: There are concerns over whether Israel will respect the UNSC resolution and allow humanitarian aid or continue military action.

India’s Humanitarian Aid Efforts

  • Aid to Sri Lankan Tamils: In 2008, the DMK in India sent aid to displaced Sri Lankan Tamils.
    • In 2022, Tamil Nadu sent substantial aid to Sri Lanka during an economic crisis.
  • Vaccine Diplomacy: India demonstrated compassion in diplomacy by distributing COVID-19 vaccines to over 100 countries, showcasing a departure from political motives.

The Afghan Aid Dilemma

  • Aid as a Political Weapon: The UNSC’s decision to provide aid to the Taliban without ensuring progress on women’s rights shows aid being used for political leverage.

Global Trends in Humanitarian Aid

  • Politicisation Across Conflicts: From Syria to Yemen to Ethiopia, aid is often conditioned by political objectives, affecting civilian populations in need.
  • Awaiting Aid: Millions worldwide, including a significant number of children, are waiting for aid as conflicts continue and political games overshadow their plight.

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