Resources

Report Examines Impact of FATF on Civil Society

Date: 
May 23, 2017

Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendation 8 and FATF recommendations following evaluations add to the restrictions faced by civil society organizations, according to a new report from Bread for the World, The Impact of International Counterterrorism on Civil Society Organisations: Understanding the Role of the Financial Action Task Force

Asserting that the links between measures that fight the financing of terrorism and civic space are not known widely, the report aims to "inform civil society organisations and non-profit organisations (NPOs), but also political decision makers who are not familiar with anti-terrorism measures." Specifically, it explains the role of FATF in setting international standards that affect the way in which civil society organisations are regulated by nation-states, their access to financial services, and their obligations to avoid proscribed organisations and other groups deemed to pose a terrorism risk. 

Brennan Center Report Examines CVE in the Trump Era

Date: 
May 11, 2017
Author: 

Although Trump's hostility towards Muslims has been well-documented in the press, countering violent extremism programs initiated during the Obama administration, while couched in neutral terms, set the stage for a focus xclusively on Muslims. 

This, despite the fact that empirical data show that violence from far right movements results in at least as many fatalities in the U.S. as attacks inspried by al Qaeda or the Islamic State, notes a March 2017 report from the Brennan Center for Justice, Countering Violent Extremism. In addition to stigmatizing Muslim communities as inherently suspect, it also creates serious risks of flagging innocuous activity as pre-terrorism and suppressing religious observance and speech, the report explains. "These flaws are only exacerbated when CVE programs are run by an administration that is overtly hostile towards Muslims, and that includes within its highest ranks individuals known for their frequent and public denunciations of a faith that is practiced by 1.6 billion people around the world," the report states. 

The report asserts that future CVE programs are unlikely to achieve security benefits, and meanwhile carry the risk of "damaging critical relationships between law enforcement and Muslim communities, further undermining the goal of preventing terrorism." As such, the report recommends a shift towards a framework that sees American Muslims as a source of strength rather than suspicion. 

Read the full report

UK Study Seeks Reconciliation of Humanitarian, Counterterrorism Goals

Date: 
May 11, 2017

A new study from Chatham House and the Royal United Services Institute in the UK finds that humanitarian objectives are often stymied by counterterrorism laws designed to prevent assistance or funds going to non-state armed groups. Humanitarian Action and Non-state Armed Groups: The UK Regulatory Environment asserts that to resolve this conflict, the UK government needs to adopt a clear, unified approach to reconciling its humanitarian and counterterrorism priorities. 

The report finds that the licensing system under sanctions regimes is opaque and ineffective, recommending that the UK government seek humanitarian exemptions, as well as simplify and expedite its domestic licensing system. It also notes that although the government cites prosecutorial discretion in asserting that there is no need for additional guidance around potential criminal penalties for incidental payments to listed groups, "prosecutorial discretion is insufficient comfort for humanitarian actors anxious to avoid breaking the law and the wide offences have a 'chilling effect'." 

Two UK government has dismissed recommendations to explore the possibility of introducing exceptions to counterterrorism legislation for humanitarian activities. It argues that legislative change would create a loophole open to exploitation. The Chatham House study recommends that this option should be explored further, with consideration of foreign laws and international instruments. 

The report also addresses the global phenomenon of bank de-risking and its impact on humanitarian aid organizations. The report authors urge the UK government to move proactively to counter this trend and to engage in international dialogue aimed at finding solutions. 

Read the full report

Study Finds Insufficient Justification for PVS Rollout

Date: 
May 10, 2017

There is insufficient justification for a global rollout of the U.S. government's Partner Vetting System (PVS), according to a December 2016 Policy Paper from InterAction, Partner Vetting Independent Assessment: Insufficient Justification for a Global Rollout

Partner vetting is an additional due diligence procedure used by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of State to ensure that foreign assistance does not inadvertently benefit terrorists or their supporters. The paper is primarily concerned with the role of U.S. nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the vetting system, and supports three general conclusions. First, implementation of the PVS pilot was not consistent enough to form the bases for a global program. Second, direct vetting wasn't sufficiently implemented. Third, the significant number of critiques could, if addressed, alleviate some of the negative consequences of PVS. Therefore, InterAction has recommended that the USAID and State extend the PVS pilot for another three years, and to implement direct vetting as well as the recommendations made in the policy paper. 

The recommendations include create a formal system to exempt vetting in certain circumstances, including humanitarian emergencies; exempt small sub-awards; exempt beneficiaries; and exempt awards for the sensitive work of democracy, rights and governance.

Read the full paper

 

Report: Countering Terrorism Financing’s Effects on Gender Equality & Security

Date: 
April 18, 2017

A new report prepared by the Duke Law International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) and the Women Peacemakers Program (WPP) looks at the effects of countering terrorism financing (CTF) measures on women’s rights organizing, women’s rights organizations, and gender equality globally, especially in areas of conflict or at risk of terrorism.  

Analysis: Permissible Activities for Peacebuilders - Based on Statements by U.S. Officials

Date: 
April 14, 2017

Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project (HLP), peacebuilding organizations have faced significant uncertainty as to what communications with Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) remain permissible under the prohibition on material support of terrorism in 18 USC 2339B.  Although there have been no prosecutions for peacebuilding activities since the decision, the lack of clarity about how it should be interpreted and applied has created a chilling impact on peacebuilding activities, inhibited constitutionally permitted speech and association, and reduced the kinds of contacts that might help prevent/counter violent extremism and terrorism. This fact sheet is intended to provide a measure of clarity by drawing on representations made by the government to the Supreme Court during oral argument and in its brief in the Holder litigation about what it considers to be permissible communications with listed groups.[1] A chart summarizing these statements is included. A PDF of this analysis is available here.

Mind the Gap: When It Comes To Nonprofits the Tax Code and Sanctions Regime Are In Conflict

Date: 
February 23, 2017
Author: 

When U.S. sanctions laws are applied to U.S. charities, funds can be frozen indefinitely, despite tax rules that require they be distributed for charitable purposes when a charity shuts down. In the Oct. 10, 2016 issue of Tax Notes, attorneys Cherie L. Evans of Evans & Rosen LLP and Kay Guinane, Director of the Charity & Security Network, explain how the “Gap Between Tax and Sanctions Law Blocks Life-Saving Aid.” After summarizing the relevant provisions of tax and sanctions law and key court cases, the article explains how designation of a U.S.

Charity & Security Network Publications

February 7, 2017

Financial Access for U.S. Nonprofits

The scope and prevalence of challenges that U.S.-based nonprofits face in accessing financial services are far more vast than previously understood, according to a comprehensive report released today by the Charity & Security Network. 

Two-thirds of U.S.-based nonprofit organizations (NPOs) working abroad are facing problems accessing financial services, the report finds. These include delays in wire transfers, requests for unusual additional documentation, increased fees, account closures and account refusals.  
The report, Financial Access for U.S. Nonprofits, is based on the first-ever empirical study of the global phenomenon known as “derisking,” as it relates to U.S.-based NPOs. Derisking refers to financial institutions terminating or restricting business relationships to avoid rather than manage risk. The report also reflects information from a number of focus group sessions and interviews with stakeholders over the last year. It outlines and analyses the scope, frequency, and prevalence of various financial access problems, including account refusals and closures, delayed wire transfers, unusual additional documentation requests and fee increases. 
Among the major findings:
  • 2/3 of all U.S. nonprofits that work abroad are having financial access difficulties
  • Delays in wire transfers, which can last up to several months, are the most common problem, affecting 37% of nonprofits
  • 15% of nonprofits report having these problems constantly or regularly
  • One-third of NPOs have experienced fee increases, and 26% have faced additional, unusual documentation requests
  • Transfers to all parts of the globe are impacted; the problem is not limited to conflict zones or  fragile and failing states
  • NPOs, categorically treated as high-risk, are sometimes forced to move money through less transparent, traceable, and safe channels as a result of delays in wire transfers and requests for additional documentation. When money cannot be transmitted in a timely manner, 42% of nonprofits report that they carry cash.

Co-authored by C&SN's Kay Guinane and Andrea Hall (February 2017). 

 


 

 

 
After a review of U.S. counterterrorism laws impacting charities, this report explains the legal framework of international humanitarian law (IHL), focusing on provisions that address civilian relief operations during situations of armed conflict. It then analyses how current U.S. counterterrorism laws and enforcement policies, particularly the broad prohibition on material support to terrorism, do not adequately incorporate these provisions and are inconsistent with humanitarian principles and obligations. The authors urge the U.S. to work with the nonprofit sector to better incorporate international humanitarian law principles and concepts into U.S. law and enforcement policy. (June 2012)

“Safeguarding Humanitarianism in Armed Conflict is a comprehensive study of the corrosive effect of counterterrorism measures on humanitarian action. It drives home the point that over-reaction is the very thing that makes terrorism succeed."   

        -- Gabor Rona, International Legal Director at Human Rights First

"Safeguarding Humanitarianism in Armed Conflict presents a thorough and balanced analysis of the protections provided for lifesaving humanitarian assistance in international humanitarian law. It reminds us that the struggle to balance security and humanity through law is not a new one, and urges us to recall long-held rules and standards of international law as we engage in debates around counterterrorism."

       -- Naz Modirzadeh, Senior Fellow at Harvard Law School- Brookings Project on Law and Security

 


 

 

Deadly Combination: Disaster, Conflict and the U.S. Material Support Law

The politicization of disaster response in conflict zones obstructs timely and effective aid delivery and also jeopardizes the safety of aid workers. Deadly Combination: Disaster, Conflict and the U.S. Material Support Law considers two cases: The 2011 famine in Somalia and the summer 2010 floods in Pakistan. In both cases, by giving priority to military objective, the U.S. impaired effective aid delivery by humanitarian organizations, exacerbating the hardship caused by disasters. (April 2012)

 

 

 


 

 

U.S. Muslim Charities and The War on Terror: A Decade in Review

U.S. Muslim Charities and the War on Terror: A Decade in Review, examines the challenges American Muslim charities have faced since 9/11 and how they have successfully responded. The report serves as an update to a March 2006 report summarizing action by the U.S. government to shut down American Muslim charities since 2006, and gives updates on the status of litigation and other efforts by charities. (December 2011)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Book Examines the Restrictive and Punitive Impact from Counterterrorism Measures on Nonprofits Since 9/11

This book is the first comprehensive examination of the restrictive and punitive impact from counterterrorism legislation on nonprofits since 9/11. Civil Society Under Strain; Counter-Terrorism Policy, Civil Society and Aid Post 9/11 (Kumarian Press) describes the threats organizations conducting humanitarian operations around the world are subjected to by unjust or overbroad anti-terror laws. Each chapter is authored by nonprofit experts or scholars, presenting the common, shared and unique challenges for nonprofits in countries such as the United States, Sri Lanka, Australia and former Soviet republics like Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The chapter about the U.S. was written by Kay Guinane and Suraj K. Sazawal. (November 2009)
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

How the Work of Charities Counters Terror

The roots of terrorism are complex and include the hopelessness of poverty, issues about identity and cultural domination, and frustration from being shut of the political process. To reduce the tensions that arise from these factors, U.S. grantmakers, aid and development organizations, and human rights advocates are striving to meet basic needs, promote respect and understanding, and engage people in peaceful political participation. But rather than welcoming their contribution, American national security laws and policies have erected barriers that unnecessarily restrict nonprofits' efforts. How the Work of Charities Counters Terror and How U.S. Laws Get in the Way addresses the need to acknowledge the critical role nonprofits play in improving our security by alleviating suffering and promoting human rights in global hotspots. (December 2009)

 

 

Pages