Resources

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

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

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.

Two-Thirds of U.S. Nonprofits Have Financial Access Difficulties

Date: 
February 1, 2017

View a PDF of this press release

 

Washington, February 7, 2017 –Two-thirds of U.S.-based nonprofit organizations (NPOs) working abroad are facing problems accessing financial services, according to a comprehensive report released today by the Charity & Security Network. 

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 numerous focus group sessions and interviews with stakeholders over the last year. It outlines and analyzes the scope, frequency, and prevalence of various financial access problems, including delayed wire transfers, account refusals and closures, and unusual additional documentation requests. The report also provides recommendations to address these challenges. Author Sue E. Eckert of the Center for New American Security noted, “At a time of unprecedented need in regions of conflict, humanitarian crises, and natural disaster, American charities’ efforts to save lives and prevent the further erosion of democracy and human rights are being stymied unnecessarily. The data are clear: there is a serious and systemic problem that must be addressed.”

FATF’s 2016 Evaluation of the U.S. - Summary and Analysis

Date: 
December 2, 2016

The Financial Action Task Force released the results of its Mutual Evaluation of the United States on Dec. 1, 2016, assessing compliance with its 40 anti-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering standards, including Recommendation 8 (R8) on nonprofit organizations (NPOs). While the evaluation found the U.S. to be “largely compliant” with R8, it noted that R8 was revised in June 2016. The evaluation is based on the prior version.

Global Terrorism Index 2016

Date: 
November 17, 2016

ISIL foreign fighters who have gone to Syria tend to have high levels of education but low incomes. One of the reasons fighters join is a feeling of exclusion in their home countries, according to the 2016 Global Terrorism Index (GTI), produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace. The report adds that half of all plots with an ISIL connection were conducted by people who have had no direct contact with ISIL. 

Since 2006, 98 percent of all deaths from terrorism in the U.S. have resulted from attacks carried out by lone actors, according to the GTI. The report notes that 76 countries improved their scores in the GTI, while 53 countries deteriorated. As many countries experienced record levels of terrorism, the overall GTI score deteriorated by 6 percent from the previous year. 

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