Over the past three years, progress has been made with the problem of derisking and the situation has stabilized so that no country is at risk of losing access to international payments services. At the same time, the problem has not yet been resolved, according to a report from the Center for Global Development(CGD), Policy Responses to De-Risking: Progress Report on the CGD Working Group's 2015 Recommendations.
Transnational Institute’s March 2018 report, The Globalisation of Countering Violent Extremism Policies, Undermining Human Rights, Instrumentalizing Civil Society, which includes a foreword by United Nations Special Rapporteur Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, analyzes the globalization of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) policies and their institutionalization within three international bodies in particular: the European Union, the United Nations, and the Global Counterterrorism Forum. Researchers Arun Kundnani and Ben Hayes argue that the most problematic practices of CVE frameworks are being globalized. These deeply flawed and controversial elements include the vague and undefined terminology, racial and religious profiling, intrusions into privacy, and lack of transparency from policymakers. When the current CVE policies are stripped of sanitized rhetoric it is clear that these policies operate on surveillance and censorship. As a result, CVE policies shrink the space for civil society.
A UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights has criticized counter-terrorism laws for imposing “chilling effects on the provision of humanitarian aid for people desperately in need of help.” Agnès Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, released her report on August 7th 2018, entitled Saving Lives Is Not A Crime. The paper focuses on the criminalization of humanitarian services and actors due to counter-terrorism activities, anti-migration policies, and the outlawing of sexual and reproductive rights in some countries.
This spring the Charity & Security Network learned of several lawsuits filed in U.S. courts against nonprofit organizations (NPOs) that receive USAID funding. Using a law meant to combat fraud against the federal government by providing incentives for private citizens to act as whistleblowers (the False Claims Act), the Zionist Advocacy Center (TZAC) has alleged that three groups violated the anti-terrorist certification in their grant agreements with USAID by providing "material support" to groups on the terrorist lists. In two of these cases, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) joined the lawsuits, which were settled without trial. The third, against the Carter Center, was dismissed at the request of DOJ. TZAC says it has filed two additional cases against international NGOs. They are currently under seal.
This memo provides background on the False Claims Act, USAID anti-terrorism certification and the definition of material support. It suggests red flags NPOs should watch for and potential steps NPOs can take to protect themselves.
In a study of implementing partners of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and State Department humanitarian assistance projects in four high-risk countries—Syria, Somalia, Haiti and Kenya—the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that most experienced banking access challenges, including denials and delays of fund transfers, problems opening accounts, increased fees and an account closure. Read more
A combination of US counter-terrorist financing law and international sanctions set the stage for humanitarian aid delivery challenges in Syria. On top of that, the largest Syrian banks are sanctioned by the various countries, including the US, and the banking system outside of government control has collapsed. The countries bordering Syria (Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan) present additional challenges in the form of regulatory requirements and financial systems. All of this has created "a complex environment for aid agencies wishing to move funds for humanitarian purposes into the country, or through neighbouring states supporting regional humanitarian efforts," according to a new report from the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute and The Humanitarian Forum, The impact of bank de-risking on the humanitarian response to the Syrian Crisis.
A paper published by the Humanitarian Policy Group of the Overseas Development Institute, A humanitarian sector in debt: Counter-terrorism, bank de-risking and financial access for NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza, reveals the crippling effects that bank derisking has had on local humanitarian and development organizations in the West Bank and Gaza. This study draws on findings from interviews conducted in 2017 - 2018 and investigates the various coping strategies that Palestinian civil society members are using to compensate for lack of financial access and growing debt in a place where humanitarian assistance is crucial.
A series of case studies on the implications of bank de-risking for humanitarian non-governmental organizations in four contexts revealed a number of common themes and recommendations. These are set out in a policy brief, Counter-terrorism, bank de-risking and humanitarian response: a path forward.
A guidance manual issued by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in June 2018 provides a methodology for member states conducting terrorist financing risk assessments. The document, Guidance manual for Member States on terrorist financing risk assessments, notes that terrorist financing needs to be countered in an efficient manner, emphasizing the importance of coordination and cooperation among financial intelligence units, law enforcement entities and intelligence services.
A report from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Principles Under Pressure: The Impact of Counterterrorism Measures and Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism on Principled Humanitarian Action, aims to update the evidence base for the impact of counterterrorism measures on humanitarian groups' ability to deliver aid to populations under the control of designated terrorist groups. It also sets out to examine what impact, if any, the emerging areas of P/CVE has on principled humanitarian action. Read more