The Latest News

September 26, 2014

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.

September 26, 2014

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.

September 18, 2014

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.

August 22, 2014

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.