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.
On Sept. 24 the White House released two documents that are intended to increase protections for the rights of civil society organizations/nonprofits to operate freely, consistent with the rights of association, assembly and expression. The first document is a new Presidential Memorandum -- Civil Society that directs federal agencies operating internationally to engage and work with civil society representatives, facilitate exchanges between governments and civil society and oppose unde restrictions on them. A separate Fact Sheet: US Support for Civil Society announces additional programs, including "enhancing efforts with other governments and within intergovernmental bodies to proetect civil society while combatting terrorist activity." This includes supporting civil society engagement with the Financial Action Task Force. A detailed summary of both documents will be posted soon.
UN Resolution on Foreign Fighters Recognizes Civil Society’s Role in Conflict Prevention and Need to Respect Human Rights
The comprehensive UN Security Council Resolution 2178 Condemning Violent Extremism, Underscoring Need to Prevent Travel, Support for Foreign Fighters, passed on Sept. 24, 2014 under Chapter VII, making compliance mandatory for UN member states. It requires them to take a number of steps to address the problem created by 13,000 foreign fighters from over 80 countries that have joined terrorist groups, including travel restrictions, criminal prosecutions, surveillance and more. It specifies that these measures must be consistent with international human rights and humanitarian law. UNSR 2178 also highlights the role civil society can play in addressing violent extremism and its drivers, noting that solutions must be comprehensive and not just law enforcement oriented. However, the former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and countering terrorism, Prof. Martin Scheinin, posted a blog criticizing the Resolution as overly vague and broad, potentially opening the door to abuse by governments seeking to suppress human rights or political opposition.
A group of 11 civil society groups and experts joined the Charity & Security Network in a Sept. 15, 2014 submission to the UN Human Rights Commission recommending that the U.S. takes steps to make counterterrorism rules for nonprofits consistent with international human rights standards. The submission is part of the HRC's Universal Periodic Review process. Stakeholders filed comments and the HRC's review will take place in the spring of 1015. The comments highlighted restrictions on speech and association of peacebuilders that want to engage armed groups to reduce conflict as well as barriers the Department of Treasury's licensing process creates for humanitarian assistance to civilians in many conflict zones.
Aug. 19, 2014 - WASHINGTON The Obama administration is promising to change the way travelers can ask to be removed from its no-fly list of suspected terrorists banned from air travel.
From, Treasury Lifts Sanctions on Ohio-Based Charity it Once Linked to Hamas by Samuel Rubenfeld. Posted July 11, 2014.
The U.S. Treasury Department removed sanctions from a defunct charity it once linked to Hamas.
A report on the risks non-profit organizations (NPOs) face from terrorist abuse was released in June 2014 by The Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The FATF, an inter-governmental body that makes recommendations for country level anti-terrorist financing policy, used over 100 case studies derived from governments and open sources to map vulnerabilities for terrorist abuse present in the NPO sector.
Latest House Approps Report Calls on Treasury to Address Licensing Problems, Sanction Mass Atrocities
The House Appropriations Committee passed the FY15 appropriations bill with a report that gives the Department of Treasury 30 days from enactment to submit recommendations for how it will reduce delays in processing license applications for humanitarian organizations, such as those seeking to provide aid during the 2011 famine in Somalia. The report reminds Treasury that it was required to submit such a report by the
UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos criticized counterterrorism laws that create a chilling impact on humanitarian organizations working in places like Syria. In a July 1 BBC 4 radio segment, Amos argued that overboard restrictions in the name of countering terror are exacerbating the crisis. “Our humanitarian response has been slowed down in some areas and stopped altogether, and ultimately, people will die” said Amos.
A judge in the 9th Federal District in Oregon has declared No-Fly Lists unconstitutional. The June 24 decision in Latif v. Holder ruled that No-Fly Lists violate a person’s right to travel internationally. The case involved 13 U.S. citizens and legal U.S. residents, 4 of whom were veterans of the U.S. armed forces.