UN removes al Qaeda, Taliban affiliates from list

The United Nations has removed names of 45 members and organisation associated with al Qaeda and Taliban from its sanctions list after the first-ever review of 488 blacklisted individuals and entities.

New York: The United Nations has removed names of 45 members and organisation associated with al Qaeda and Taliban from its sanctions list after the
first-ever review of 488 blacklisted individuals and entities.

The names of those removed from the list include 35
members and organisations associated with al Qaeda and 10 from
Taliban.

"We were able to do the first review after nine
years. In 75 per cent of these cases we were able to receive
new information," said Thomas Mayr-Harting, Austria`s
Ambassador and the chair of the Security Council panel that
maintains the list.

The 488 names were discussed over 38 meetings.

Mayr-Harting said the 443 names, 132 from Taliban and
311 from al Qaeda, were confirmed on the list, though a
decision on 66 names was still being debated.

"It would be nonetheless unrealistic to expect big
movements on the remaining list," said Mayr-Harting,
highlighting that 270 names on the list had not been reviewed
since 2001.

Under the new rules of the sanctions regimes, the
names of everyone on the list would have to be reviewed every
three years.

The list, however, continues to suffer from several
anomalies including the presence of names of 30 dead people in
it. Recently, eight dead people were removed from the list
but the process for delisting names of the deceased is slow.

Under the new rules, the names of the dead people
have to be reviewed every six months.

"It is not east to get dead people off the list... we
have to have convincing proof that they are really dead and
also we have to have information on what happened to their
assets and this in many cases takes sometime but this is work
that will have to continue," Mayr-Harting said, adding there
were other entries on the list that lack identifiers, which
causes a problem as dozens of people can have the same name.

One positive development, on the other hand, was the
appointment of an Ombudsperson to consider delisting requests
received from individuals and entities, he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Kimberly
Prost, a Canadian who served as a judge of the war crimes
tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, as an Ombudsperson in June
this year.

The sanctions committee was set up under a resolution
passed by the Security Council in 1999. It imposes travel
bans, an asset freeze and an arms embargo on any individual or
entity associated with al Qaeda and Taliban.

Five members of Taliban were delisted from the list of
the UN Security Council on Friday. These included former UN
ambassador Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad Awrang, author Abdul
Salam Zaeef, Abdul Satar Paktin.

It also included two "deceased" members, identified as
Abdul Samad Khaksar and Muhammad Islam Mohammadi.

In order to facilitate political reconciliation,
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has asked for removing
names from the list and the UN has expressed support to this
initiative.

In January, five members were taken off the list.

Those removed were former foreign minister Abdul Wakil
Mutawakil; former deputy foreign affairs minister Abdul Hakin;
former deputy commerce minister Faiz Mohammad Faizan; a former
official under the Taliban regime Shams-us-Safa and Mohammad
Musa.

The sanctions committee does not have power to
investigate individual cases on its own and relies heavily on
the inputs of member-states.

Responding to whether Pakistan was helpful in
providing information, Richard Barrettto, coordinator of the
sanctions list said, "We can say that we are perfectly
satisfied with the cooperation we get from the Pakistani
authorities."

While it was unlikely that the UN sanctions committee
would carry out its own investigation in the future, Barrettto
noted that waiting for member-states to respond caused delays.

"I can`t imagine that we are going to go down to the
Afghan-Pakistan border area and sniff around there to much,"
Barrettto said.

"It is a slow process as thing goes to a mission, goes
to the Foreign Ministry, and then goes out to various
people... it may take sometime to reach people who can
actually answer some questions," he continued.

"So if we could go direct to them, it would be much
easier."

PTI

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