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.
The largest group of U.S.-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to date has responded to the Obama administration’s new “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) strategy.
A long-awaited final Partner Vetting System (PVS) final rule was issued by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) June 26 (Partner Vetting in USAID Assistance, 80 Fed. Reg. 36693). The rule, which establishes a pilot project in five countries, requires many grant applicants to submit detailed personal information on key employees to USAID for comparison with intelligence databases. It is dismissive of concerns raised by nonprofit organizations (NGOs) and others in response to the proposed rule issued in 2013.
The Charity & Security Network, joined by 42 civil liberties, human rights and racial justice organizations, has signed onto a letter expressing grave concerns about a proposed bill that would create a division devoted to “countering violent extremism” (CVE) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The office would be headed by a new Assistant Secretary and supported by a career Deputy Assistant Secretary, and the bill allocates $10 million annually from the budget of the Office of the Secretary of DHS to this new program.
H.R. 2899, The Countering Violent Extremism Act of 2015, was introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (D-TX) June 25. A hearing on the bill was held July 15 in the House Committee on Homeland Security, followed by bill markup. Representatives from DHS did not attend the hearing, while many observers have speculated on the reasons for its absence. The bill passed out of committee that evening on a voice vote.
As part of its program to promote global implementation of its anti-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering recommendations, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will be conducting an evaluation of U.S. compliance in late 2015 and early 2016. FATF is expected to review the evaluators' report and make any recommendations in October 2016.
On July 6, 2015 the Charity & Security Network and the Council on Foundations submitted a detailed memo to the FATF Secretariat that provides the evaluation team with background information on U.S. counterterrorism laws, the impacts on nonprofit organizations (NPOs) and how this compares to FATF standards. It found that U.S. law fails to meet the FATF criteria of a risk-based approach, proportionality, protection of legitimate NPOs and consistency with human rights and humanitarian law. In a cover letter, the groups asked that the FATF evaluation team meet with representatives of the NPO sector as part of the evaluation process. The outcome of the report, and the recommendations, could provide an important opportunity for the U.S. to make its laws more civil-society friendly.
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
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.