Report: Laying the Groundwork for Disarmament & Demobilization

April 2, 2012

In the Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, Chief Justice John Roberts argued that terrorist groups could “use humanitarian and international law…as part of a broader strategy to promote terrorism,” by pursuing “peaceful negotiation as a means of buying time to recover from short-term setbacks, lulling opponents into complacency, and ultimately preparing for renewed attacks.”

Understanding Aid Worker Safety Statistics

April 2, 2012

The frequency of aid workers around the world being killed, kidnapped or attacked has risen sharply over the last decade. The surge in attacks has led to an increase in tracking security incident-related statistics. Written by the European Interagency Security Forum, Incident Statistics in Aid Worker Safety and Security Management provides guidance to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups on how to understand, use and create this information.

Safety and security incident statistics are an important component of a comprehensive risk management strategy for the aid sector. They provide information on the changing nature of threats, how security problems impact an organization and how well they are managing the risks to which they are exposed. Click here for more on issues related to aid worker saftey.

April 1 Special Annoucement

April 1, 2012

CLICK HERE for the Potential Indicators of Violating the U.S. “Material Support” statute as it is related to First Amendment Rights

On April 1, 2012, the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced the winners of its inaugural Money Laundering for Good award, praising a “core group of supporters of the terrorist group MEK” for diverting large sums of money away from terrorist activities by charging hefty fees for making speeches supporting the MEK's efforts to get off the terrorist list. The “core group,” consists of former high-ranking public officials such as former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former Bush homeland security advisor Frances Townsend, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, and former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

Updated International Anti-Terrorist Financing Standards Problematic for Nonprofits

March 20, 2012

On Feb. 15, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) approved revised recommendations that largely duplicate the problematic Special Recommendation VIII for the nonprofit sector, focusing more on weapons of mass destruction, corruption and tax crimes. Published the same month, a report from the Transnational Institute and Statewatch, notes that the regulatory measures FATF recommends for nonprofits can and are being used by repressive governments to suppress nonprofits. The FATF is an international consortium of 36 countries that sets anti-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering standards used by 180 countries.

Two Upcoming Conferences to Highlight NGO Sector Issues

March 19, 2012

Plenary sessions and workshops at the InterAction conference (April 30-May 2) will feature Donald Steinberg, Deputy Administrator of USAID, Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN, and Bob Zoellick, President of the World Bank. This forum will bring together professionals from more than 350 organizations from the international nonprofit community, government, corporate and philanthropic sectors to learn about the latest developments that affect the NGO sector and get trained in best practices and skills.

The purpose of the Alliance for Peacebuilding conference (May 10-12) will be to set an agenda for making systemic peacebuilding a reality on the ground. Conflict cannot be separated from issues such as development, governance, and climate change, and there is a strong consensus that the interconnected and complex nature of the problems of violence and under-development in chaotic or fragile environments require models for peacebuilding that work across disciplines.

Letter to CIA Protests Use of Vaccination Plot for Intelligence Collection

March 6, 2012

On Feb. 21, a coalition of nearly 200 aid organizations sent a letter to the head of the CIA protesting its use of a vaccination campaign last year as cover for collecting intelligence information in Pakistan.

"The CIA's use of the cover of humanitarian activity for this purpose casts doubt on the intentions and integrity of all humanitarian actors in Pakistan," said the letter from InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based humanitarian and international development non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The group, which includes International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, and Relief International, said, "The CIA-led immunization campaign compromises the perception of U.S. NGOs as independent actors focused on a common good, and … jeopardizes the lives of humanitarian aid workers.”

UPDATED: Treasury Data Shows Charities Not Significant Source of Terrorist Support

March 5, 2012

The Department of Treasury has made broad statements charging the U.S. charitable sector with being a significant source of terrorist financing and support. But evidence to support these claims has not been forthcoming. As a result, there has been significant disagreement between Treasury and the nonprofit sector on the extent and nature of the relationship between charities and terrorists. The issue is highlighted by the fact that Treasury's Annex to the Guidelines only cites examples of alleged crimnal activity by foreign charities.

A Shift in Focus: Put the Needs of Somali People First

February 27, 2012

Earlier this month the UN announced that the famine in Somalia had ended, but danger for over four million Somalis remains. On Feb. 22, CSN hosted a telebriefing about the ongoing efforts of aid groups in the region featuring Allan Jury, Director of the U.S. Relations Office for the World Food Programme, and Vincent Cochetel, Regional Representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. An audio file and transcript are available.

One day later, over 40 world leaders met in London to discuss how to respond to the crisis in Somalia. In a report released in time for the conference, Oxfam said the current approach has not worked and called for a new strategy emphasizing humanitarian aid instead of counter-terrorism and military intervention.

Aid Worker Survived Suicide Bomber Attack, Warns Against PVS

February 20, 2012

On Oct. 5, 2009, a suicide bomber struck the headquarters of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing five people and injuring five others. One of the survivors, Adam Motiwala, an American aid worker helping coordinate humanitarian aid to millions of displaced Pakistanis in the northwest part of the country, suffered injuries to his head, leg and stomach.

Aid workers have always faced risk while working in global hot spots, but Motiwala explains why the implementation of a proposed USAID grant vetting policy is likely to increase these dangers in comments filed with the U.S. State Department on Feb. 17, 2012.