News

The Charity and Security Network monitors U.S. and foreign government activities and a wide range of news sources to identify developments in national security policy that impact American charities and foundations. We collect and disseminate this information - with a focus on its impact on civil society and nonprofit organizations.

News

FATF Best Practices Paper Revision is a Victory for NPO Sector

Date: 
July 2, 2015

The Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) June 2015 update of its Best Practices Paper (BPP) incorporates almost all of the changes requested by the nonprofit organization (NPO) sector. With a new emphasis on a risk-based approach to counter-terrorism financing (CTF) regulation and specific mention of freedom of association, assembly and expression, NPOs are hailing this as long-awaited victory.

This latest BPP revision, which offers guidance on FATF Recommendation 8, on laws relating to NPOs, states at its outset that FATF recognizes “the vital importance of the NPO community in providing charitable services around the world, as well as  the difficulty of providing assistance to those in need, often in remote regions.” It also recognizes the efforts of NPOs to promote transparency in their work and “to prevent misuse of the sector by those wishing to support terrorist financing and terrorist organisations.” Read more

FATF Agrees to Formal Consultation Process

Date: 
June 29, 2015

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has said it will formalize its consultation process with the nonprofit organization (NPO) sector. At its June Plenary in Australia, FATF agreed to enhance its engagement with NPOs when workingon combating money laundering and terrorist financing by holding an annual discussion with NPOs on specific issues of common interest. It will also organize ad hoc exchanges on technical matters. 

Webinar:

Date: 
June 24, 2015
Audio Recording Now Available

Click on the link above to access the audio file with slides for this webinar

Building Peace in Permanent War: 
Counterterrorism Laws and Constraints on Peacebuilding
Five Years after Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project

Wednesday, June 24    9:30-10:30 a.m. (EST)

Speakers:

Vicki Sentas, Lecturer in Law, University of New South Wales 
Louis Boon-Kuo, Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney
Lisa Schirch, Director of Human Security, Alliance for Peacebuilding
Dr. Tomicah Tillemann, former U.S. State Dept. Senior Advisory for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies, currently with the
New America Foundation
 

The groundbreaking report, Building Peace in Permanent War, Terrorist Listing and Conflict Transformation, provides empirical data on how counterterrorism legislation has affected peacebuilding practice at the local and international level. Co-authors Sentas and Boon-Kuo will discuss their report, with commentary from Schirch and Tillemann. 

State Department Outlines CVE Strategy in New QDDR

Date: 
May 12, 2015

Countering violent extremism (CVE) plays a prominent role in the second Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), the State Department’s policy roadmap, released April 28 by Secretary of State John Kerry. While the CVE strategy, as outlined in the report, emphasizes the importance of a free and functioning civil society, it echoes the rhetoric from the February White House Summit on CVE and the September 2014 presidential memorandum, which focuses on restrictions imposed by foreigh governments and does not address the global impact of U.S. restrictions on civil society. Despite this the report presents yet another potential opening to create dialogue around this issue.

To Increase Peace, Tackle Corruption, Report States

Date: 
May 11, 2015

Improvements in peace are ultimately dependent on decreases in corruption, concludes a new report by the Institute for Economics & Peace, Peace and Corruption 2015. Although the report found that keeping corruption under control is essential for building and maintaining peaceful societies, there is no indication of the causal relationship between peace and corruption. Read more.

Global NPO Response to FATF’s Call for Comments on Best Practices Paper Revisions

Date: 
April 27, 2015

Seventy nonprofit organizations (NPOs) from 28 countries submitted joint comments April 24, 2015 on the draft Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Best Practices Paper (BPP). The comments stressed that the final Best Practices Paper should guide governments on how to take a risk-based and proportional approach to protecting NPOs from terrorist abuse. The Transnational Nonprofit Working Group on FATF (Working Group) hopes that a consultation process between FATF and the NPO sector can be formalized so that NPOs are not again put in the position of trying to comment in a short time frame on a draft that has not been made publicly available.  

State Dept. Official’s Bangladesh Speech on Charities Reinforces Civil Society Restrictions

Date: 
December 22, 2014

In a message at odds with the Obama administration’s Stand for Civil Society initiative, the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, William Brownfield, told a Dec. 8 conference in South Asia that, because an unspecified portion of charitable dollars are diverted to terrorist financing, countries must “strengthen charitable regulations.” The statement was made in Bangladesh, where a week earlier the cabinet approved a highly restrictive civil society law that places tight limits on finances and activities of nonprofits.  Media reports on the speech interpreted it as praise for the restrictive new law. The U.S. Ambassador’s subsequent comments to the press were equally negative and lacking in any reference to the positive contributions of the nonprofit sector in countering violence. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders issued a statement on Dec. 12 calling on the government of Bangladesh to repeal the new law. The incident raises concerns that more South Asian governments will impose severe restrictions on civil society, with the appearance of U.S. support.

In Bizarre Case United Arab Emirates Puts US and EU Charities, Rights Groups on Its Terror List

Date: 
November 19, 2014

(Updated) The Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) approved a “terrorist” list of 83 groups on Nov. 15, 2014 that ranges from armed terrorist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram to American and European Muslim humanitarian and rights groups, including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS).

Charity & Security Network Calls Treasury Guidance for Humanitarian NGOs a Disappointment

Date: 
October 28, 2014

The Charity & Security Network released a statement on Oct. 28, 2014 that analyzes the Department of Treasury's Oct. 17, 2014 Guidance Related to the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance by Not-for-Profit Non-Governmental Organizations and concludes that "much more needs to be done to address U.S. legal restrictions on nonprofit organizations responding to humanitarian crises." Noting that the Guidance states that it has no legal force, the Network notes that it is "mostly clarification of current policy, rather than an effort to address systemic problems."  The Network calls for more dialog on the issue with a representative group of nonprofits that addresses licensing barriers for both humanitarian and nonprofits engaged in peacebuilding support and other important activities.

Treasury’s Informational Licensing Guidance for Humanitarian NGOs Falls Short

Date: 
October 24, 2014

On Oct. 17, 2014 the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) released  Guidance Related to the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance by Not for Profit Non-Governmental Organizations, intended to provide clarification for nonprofits seeking licenses for activities that would otherwise be prohibited by economic sanctions programs. The document states it “does not have the force of law” and does not include key proposals made by nonprofits, such as clear standards for nonprofit licenses and timelines for decisions on license applications.  It does not address the needs of development, peacebuilding, human rights or other types of nonprofit programs abroad.  The licensing process has been criticized by nonprofits for being slow and non-transparent.  The Guidance is a step in the right direction but more will need to be done to address problems nonprofits have experienced, most glaringly seen in the Somalia famine of 2011. For an analysis see the Charity & Security Network statement calling for stronger administration policy to facilitate U.S. nonprofits' ability to work in global hot spots.