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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 civil society and nonprofit organizations. We collect and disseminate relevant information on our website, via our Twitter and Facebook accounts, and through our biweekly email newsletter, which contains links to a variety of news articles. To read the most recent issues of our email newsletter or to subscribe, click here

Our staff also creates news pieces on events and developments of particular interest to our members that are not covered in other news outlets. Those stories can be found below, in revese chronological order. 

Improvements Needed in Upcoming FATF Evaluation of U.S.

Date: 
July 8, 2015

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. 

FATF Agrees to Formal Consultation Process

Date: 
June 29, 2015

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. 

State Department Outlines CVE Strategy in New QDDR

Date: 
May 12, 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.

Global NPO Response to FATF’s Call for Comments on Best Practices Paper Revisions

Date: 
April 27, 2015

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.  

State Dept. Official’s Bangladesh Speech on Charities Reinforces Civil Society Restrictions

Date: 
December 22, 2014

In a message at odds with the Obama administration’s Stand for Civil Society initiative, the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, William Brownfield, told a Dec. 8 conference in South Asia that, because an unspecified portion of charitable dollars are diverted to terrorist financing, countries must “strengthen charitable regulations.” The statement was made in Bangladesh, where a week earlier the cabinet approved a highly restrictive civil society law that places tight limits on finances and activities of nonprofits.  Media reports on the speech interpreted it as praise for the restrictive new law. The U.S. Ambassador’s subsequent comments to the press were equally negative and lacking in any reference to the positive contributions of the nonprofit sector in countering violence. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders issued a statement on Dec. 12 calling on the government of Bangladesh to repeal the new law. The incident raises concerns that more South Asian governments will impose severe restrictions on civil society, with the appearance of U.S. support.

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