The rising numbers of attacks against global aid workers is threatening their safety and the humanitarian work they provide in many of the worlds' turbulent areas. Government action that intrudes into the operations of nongovernment organizations has contributed to the problem, according to experts. In the U.S. a proposal to require United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant applicants to collect and submit personal data on program partners threatens to exacerbate the situation.
On June 18, 2012, an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) representative said an increasing number of civilians, including humanitarian workers, medical personnel, and journalists, are being targeted and attacked in armed conflicts around the world today. This statement reinforced the findings of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s report on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, and came just days before the fourth Red Crescent volunteer was killed in Syria while assisting civilians trapped in the crossfire.
The number of major attacks against aid workers rose again in 2011, according to Aid Worker Security Database (AWSD), which has been tracking major incidents of violence against aid workers since 1997. Its latest report, Inhospitable Conditions: How Host Governments Help Make or Break Humanitarian Operational Security, says the protection of aid workers is integral to ensuring reliable and effective assistance for the 60 million people who need humanitarian assistance world-wide.
Humanitarian assistance to millions of Somalis must remain a top priority and not be subsumed into political processes, a leading international medical humanitarian organization said on Feb. 28, 2013. Responding to United Nations’ statements about integrating humanitarian assistance into the ongoing international military campaign in Somalia, Jerome Oberreit, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Secretary General, said in a press release that politicizing humanitarian aid puts Somalis and aid workers responding to the crisis “in even greater danger.” Although the famine was officially declared over last February, a MSF report based on interviews with more than 800 Somalis, says humanitarian need and access remains a challenge, especially to nearly two million people living in the south and central parts of the country.
A coalition of international aid agencies said that the decision by the UN Security Council to integrate all UN functions in Somalia under one UN mandate will impede humanitarian aid, increase the risk of attacks on aid workers, and further strain humanitarian negotiations. In a March 11, 2013 press release, InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S. based aid and development non-governmental originations (NGOs), joined two other prominent humanitarian consortiums- the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) and VOICE (Voluntary Organizations in Cooperation in Emergencies) - to express concerns about the UN’s decision. On March 6, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2093 which established a new peacebuilding mission in Somalia that requires all UN functions, including humanitarian assistance, to be integrated into it.
Effective as of December 2008, the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has expanded its scope of mandatory licensing affecting legal services available under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations and payment for legal services under the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations.
Gauging the effectiveness of the Financial Action Task Force’s policy and assessment mechanisms for laws to prevent terrorist financing and money laundering was the central question of a speech delivered by the organization’s president on March 15, 2013. Speaking before a European conference on money laundering and terrorist financing, FATF President Bjørn S. Aamo asked, “Does the system work?” As part of the FATF’s answer, it produced risk assessment guidance (February 2013) and also updated its methodology (February 2013) for evaluating the level of individual country’s compliance with its 2012 recommendations (and interpretive notes) on anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) controls.
Concluding its research into stopping the financing of terrorism, the bipartisan Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing of the U.S. House of Representatives's Financial Services Committee has released a report of its findings. Stopping Terror Finance: Securing the U.S. Financial Sector, is the product of 11 hearings over two six-month periods, beginning in April 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.
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).