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Canada to pass bill to unblock Afghan aid

AT News

KABUL: Canada’s Senate has passed a bill intended to unblock Canadian aid in Afghanistan without amendment, which will be used to help millions of malnourished Afghans from the brink of hunger.

The Criminal Code changes allow development workers to apply for exemptions from terrorism laws, which currently criminalize paying taxes to the ruling Taliban because it is designated as a terrorist group.

Amendments from the Conservatives and NDP in the House of Commons also added a blanket exemption for humanitarian workers who are providing life-saving aid in response to emergencies.

The passage of the bill by both chambers of Parliament comes more than a year after many of Canada’s allies issued exemptions for aid workers in their own terrorism laws.

Some senators had expressed fears about how bureaucrats might enforce the bill, but the Senate gave unanimous consent to pass multiple stages of the bill all at once, ensuring it will become law before a scheduled summer break.

The government has said that civil servants are impartial and courts can be called in to review rejected applications.

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