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Somalia: Security Council takes action to help protect relief workers

Somalia: Security Council takes action to help protect relief workers

In a move to facilitate the work of United Nations and other relief agencies operating in Somalia, the Security Council today made certain exemptions to its 1992 arms embargo against the country, in order to allow humanitarian workers to protect themselves using military equipment such as helmets and bullet-proof jackets.

"There are a number of things that the humanitarian agencies working in Somalia need, and we thought that such a resolution would help the work of such agencies," the current President of the Council President, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury of Bangladesh, told the press after the Council vote.

Adopted unanimously, the Council resolution stipulates that the measures imposed in January 1992 - which asked all countries to implement an embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Somalia - shall not apply to "protective clothing, including flak jackets and military helmets, temporarily exported to Somalia by United Nations personnel, representatives of the media and humanitarian and development workers and associated personnel for their personal use only."

The Council also decided that the embargo should not apply to non-lethal military equipment intended solely for humanitarian or protective use, if the supplies were approved in advance.