The Global Peace Index 2019 and Civil Society

Date: 
June 24, 2019
Author: 
Raquel Dominguez

I had the good fortune of attending the release of the Global Peace Index 2019 (GPI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on June 20. The GPI is an annual report authored by the Institute for Economics & Peace; this year it’s a staggering 103 pages of data quantifying  everything from a comprehensive ranking of the world’s most and least peaceful countries to the greatest threats to peace in different regions to how climate change will impact the rates of violence across the globe to a new section on positive peace. It’s an incredible report, but it’s also deeply alarming, and not just because the United States is now ranked as the world’s 128th most peaceful country, after Bangladesh, Honduras and Brazil.

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Abstract: Development Needs Civil Society: The Implications of Civic Society for the Sustainable Development Goals

Date: 
June 20, 2019

Development Needs Civil Society: The Implications of Civic Society for the Sustainable Development Goals,” by the ACT Alliance and Institute for Development Studies, examines the consequences of closing civic space on civil society organizations (CSOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the media and other groups that bridge the public and private sectors. It includes a literature review and 16 case studies, (12 desk-based and four field-based).

Abstract: Civil Society and the G20: Towards a Review of Regulatory Models and Approaches

Date: 
June 3, 2019
Author: 

The normal amount of “tension” between civil society organizations (CSOs) and G20 member governments has worsened, with significant consequences for all, according to a new policy brief, Civil Society and the G20: Towards a Review of Regulatory Models and Approaches. The paper comes roughly three months before the annual G20 Summit, to be held in June 2019 in Osaka, Japan.

Abstract: UN Special Rapporteur Calls for End to Attacks on Civil Society

Date: 
May 14, 2019

In her report to the Fortieth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) on the role of measures to address terrorism and violent extremism on closing space (Advance Unedited Version, A/HRC/40/52, February 18, 2019), Special Rapporteur Fionnuala Ní Aoláin urgently calls for action to be taken against the increasingly aggressive efforts to close civil society space, ostensibly in the name of counterterrorism. In doing so, she makes connections between several seemingly unrelated topics, including the role of international bodies like the Financial Access Task Force (FATF), increased dangers to journalists, the lack of cohesive definitions of terrorism and violent extremism, the useful vagueness of “material support” and de-risking of charities (particularly Muslim charities).

Experts Warn UN Security Council of Threats to Humanitarian Operations, Violations of International Law

Date: 
April 16, 2019

Just days after the UN Security Council passed a comprehensive resolution on counterterrorist financing, it held an informal session to hear about strengthening the rule of law in maintaining international peace and security, focusing on international humanitarian law (IHL). The UN’s Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, and IHL experts from the International Committee of the Red Cross and Harvard Law School explained increased threat to aid operations by both states and non-state armed groups that ignore protections and standards afforded by IHL. In response, the UN’s meeting summary notes that “Council members stressed the need to protect aid workers and ensure that the humanitarian space remains impartial, neutral and free from politicization.”

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New UN Counter Terrorist Financing Resolution: Vague Safeguards for Civil Society Puts Focus on Implementation

Date: 
April 3, 2019

The UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2462 to “Combat, Criminalize Financing of Terrorists, Their Activities” on March 28, 2019 that is binding on all member states and can be enforced by UN sanctions. Sponsored by France, Resolution 2462 is the results of intense behind-the-scenes negotiations, including efforts by civil society to include clear safeguards for humanitarian and peacebuilding activities as well as cautions against further bank derisking of nonprofit organizations. It is the first comprehensive UN resolution on countering financing of terrorism (CFT), incorporating a patchwork of previous resolutions and broadening CFT efforts to address new threats and improve investigation and enforcement activities.  Notably, Resolution 2462 requires member states to take international humanitarian (IHL), human rights law (IHRL) and refugee (IRL) law into account and make CFT efforts consistent with these existing legal obligations. These safeguards, which are weaker than what civil society proposed, will require civil society engagement at both the UN and member state level to build understanding of what IHL, IHRL and IRL require and advocate for appropriate implementation. This engagement will be a major factor in how Resolution 2462 impacts civil society, as there are no clear enforcement mechanisms for violations of these human rights and humanitarian standards. Read a full summary of Resolution 2462 here.

Summary of UN Security Council Resolution 2462 on Counter Terrorist Financing

Date: 
April 4, 2019

The UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2462 to “Combat, Criminalize Financing of Terrorists, Their Activities” on March 28, 2019. It is binding on all member states and can be enforced by UN sanctions. Sponsored by France, Resolution 2462 is the results of intense behind-the-scenes negotiations, including efforts by civil society to include clear safeguards for humanitarian and peacebuilding activities as well as cautions against further bank derisking of nonprofit organizations (NPOs). It is the first comprehensive UN resolution on countering financing of terrorism (CFT), incorporating a patchwork of previous resolutions and broadening CFT efforts to address new threats and improve investigation and enforcement activities.  Notably, Resolution 2462 requires member states to take international humanitarian (IHL), human rights law (IHRL) and refugee (IRL) law into account and make CFT efforts consistent with these existing legal obligations. These safeguards, which are weaker than what civil society proposed, will require civil society engagement at both the UN and member state level to build understanding of what IHL, IHRL and IRL require and advocate for appropriate implementation. This engagement will be a major factor in how Resolution 2462 impacts civil society, as there are no clear enforcement mechanisms for violations of these human rights and humanitarian standards.

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