Aid for Afghanistan banner picture

Humanitarian assistance still needed in Afghanistan after two years under the Taliban government.

Cliquez ici pour la version française.

Campaign Updates:

August 2023

As we mark two years since the leadership change in Afghanistan, the humanitarian crisis is widespread and the need for international support is desperately needed. Access to health care, food, water, sanitation, education, and other social and economic needs remain a challenge for people in Afghanistan. While local actors are working tirelessly to address these needs, Canadian organizations are keen to once again provide support for this work.

The coalition is encouraged by the Government of Canada’s recent passage of Bill C-41. This is an important move forward and efforts are underway to restart vital work that provides assistance to the people in Afghanistan. As we turn our focus towards once again mobilizing our operations, we remain hopeful that Bill C-41 represents the first step of continued engagement and further progress between government and organizations to ensure there are no more unnecessary regulatory and bureaucratic barriers preventing aid from reaching those in need, regardless of where they live, and to advance an interpretation of relevant law and best practice that includes a broad range of humanitarian activities.

The Aid for Afghanistan Coalition wishes to thank all Canadians who demonstrated their support by contacting their elected officials in an effort to persuade the Government of Canada to limit barriers on Canadian aid organizations. The Aid for Afghanistan Coalition will continue to monitor the impact of Bill C41, persist in its advocacy for people living in Afghanistan and other complex environments, and work towards addressing humanitarian needs with our local colleagues and partners.

To support the critical work in Afghanistan which includes the provision of humanitarian assistance to people in Afghanistan, please visit the websites of the organizations listed below.

Canadian Red Cross

World Vision Canada

Islamic Relief Canada

Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Save the Children Canada

Cooperation Canada

Canadian Foodgrains Bank

Presbyterian World Service & Development

Humanitarian Coalition

Development and Peace – Caritas Canada

Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH)

CARE Canada

Plan International Canada


June 2023

Aid for Afghanistan Coalition Statement: The Passage of Bill C-41, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

The Aid for Afghanistan Coalition welcomes the adoption of Bill C-41 as a first step in enabling Canadian aid organizations to provide crucial humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan and other similar contexts. This legislation is needed to give Canadian aid organizations a path forward to ensure those who are in need of assistance receive it, regardless of where they are located.

Over the past two years, Canadian aid organizations have advocated for the removal of barriers to much needed aid in places including Afghanistan, where Canadian aid organizations have been unable to work since the Taliban took control in August 2021.

We believe that Bill C-41 is a step forward to allowing Canadian aid organizations to operate in a neutral, impartial and independent manner in these exceptional circumstances.

We welcome the inclusion of a humanitarian exemption in Bill C-41, which covers a broad range of humanitarian work permitted under international law. These activities are vital for improving access to health care, ensuring access to food, water and sanitation, education, the protection of detainees and protecting human dignity.

Looking ahead, there is more work to be done. In the longer term we encourage movement away from requiring aid organizations to seek specific permission to operate and allow for a provision in legislation to ensure swift and efficient assistance to places where and when it is needed most. The Coalition will continue to work closely with partners to monitor the implementation of Bill C-41 and to ensure that it is done in a clear and effective way. We look forward to sharing these observations at the Bill’s one-year review mark.

We thank all Canadians who used their voice to help champion this issue. We know that humanitarian needs continue to grow, and assistance is needed now, more than ever.


March 2023

Over the past 8 months, close to 10,000 Canadians have joined the Aid for Afghanistan campaign calling on the federal government to remove barriers to life-saving aid and assistance in Afghanistan.

On March 9th, the federal government responded to our calls for action, introducing Bill C-41, an amendment to the Criminal Code that will allow Canadian aid agencies to provide humanitarian support in Afghanistan without the fear of criminal prosecution.

This announcement is an important step forward in the right direction toward finding a permanent solution for the countless Afghans who are counting on international aid and assistance to survive. 

The Aid for Afghanistan coalition will continue to work with all parties to ensure these amendments are passed effectively and efficiently so that aid can reach those who need it most. 


January 2023

The Aid for Afghanistan coalition, alongside humanitarian organizations around the world, are deeply concerned by the Taliban's announcement, banning women from public life and restricting the work of most NGOs. We are specifically concerned about the impacts on local communities in need of aid. As a coalition made up of diverse organizations, the implications of the bans are still being assessed and clarified, as the impacts may vary for different partners. 

However, now more than ever, humanitarian aid is crucial.  We must stand in support of Afghan people in urgent need of assistance as the needs on the ground only continue to grow. It is critical that all barriers to assistance to providing aid in Afghanistan are removed. The coalition remains committed to our ongoing dialogue and advocacy in this area, to ensure those most at risk are supported with assistance.


Background on the Aid for Afghanistan Campaign:

Afghanistan is in the midst of a deepening humanitarian crisis. More than half of the population — at least 23 million people — require urgent humanitarian assistance, and 19.7 million people are regularly going to bed hungry – including over 13 million children.

The UN has called upon the international community to make a humanitarian exception to sanctions against the Taliban, in order to make a way for vital aid and humanitarian assistance to reach Afghans in need. 

While our allies have already carved out humanitarian exceptions to their sanctions regimes and criminal law, Canada has yet to provide an avenue for humanitarian agencies to continue their operations in Afghanistan.

Canada has a duty not to turn its back on the people of Afghanistan. 

The current economic collapse – brought on by the cumulative impact of years of conflict, food shortages, challenges in governance, recurrent natural disasters, and now international sanctions – is hurting innocent civilians, especially Afghan women and girls

Now more than ever, we must stand up for Afghans in extremely vulnerable situations. Canadian humanitarian and development agencies have operated in Afghanistan for decades and must be allowed to continue carrying out essential operations. We will continue to work our hardest to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches those who need it the most.