Acting unanimously, the United Nations Security Council today adopted humanitarian exemptions to the sanctions imposed on Usama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, the Taliban and their associates.
The sanctions date back to 1999, with the Council's adoption of resolution 1267 in response to the indictment of Usama bin Laden for the 1998 terrorist bombings of United States embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam. They were subsequently tightened by resolutions 1333 (2000) and 1390 (2002).
Under those texts, States are required to freeze financial resources, including funds derived or generated by any undertaking owned or controlled by the Taliban, and to ensure that they are not used by the group. Countries are also obliged to freeze funds and other financial assets of Usama bin Laden and his associates in the Al-Qaida organization, and to prevent their entry or transit through the State's territory. In addition, States must prevent the supply, sale and transfer of all arms and materiel - along with any form of military training - to the named individuals and entities.
By the resolution adopted today, the Council decided that these measures do not apply to funds and other financial assets or economic resources that have been determined by States to be "necessary for basic expenses, including payments for foodstuffs, rent or mortgage, medicines and medical treatment, taxes, insurance premiums, and public utility charges."
Also exempted are funds "exclusively for payment of reasonable professional fees and reimbursement of incurred expenses associated with the provision of legal services, or fees or service charges for routine holding or maintenance" of the frozen resources, as well as funds "necessary for extraordinary expenses."
Countries must notify the Security Council committee monitoring the sanctions of any plans to exempt funds. Access can then be authorized "in the absence of a negative decision by the committee within 48 hours of such notification."