Non-profit organizations (NPOs) most at risk of abuse by terrorists appear to be those engaged in service activities and those that operate in close proximity to an active terrorist threat, according the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) 2014 report, Risk of Terrorist Abuse in Non-Profit Organisations. The goal of the typologies report, as it has come to be known, was to better understand the terrorist threat to the NPO sector as it relates to FATF Recommendation 8 (R8), which directs countries to ensure their laws are adequate to prevent abuse of NPOs by terrorists. NPOs provided extensive input for the report and much of it was incorporated. However, in a letter responding to the report the NPOs also cautioned against extrapolating the case studies to the nonprofit sector globally. Overall, the evidence shows that the incidence of terrorist abuse of NPOs is low.
Improvements in peace are ultimately dependent on decreases in corruption, concludes a new report by the Institute for Economics & Peace, Peace and Corruption 2015. Although the report found that keeping corruption under control is essential for building and maintaining peaceful societies, there is no indication of the causal relationship between peace and corruption.
Experiences of injustice, rather than economics, drive youth to armed movements, according to a new report by Mercy Corps, Youth & Consequences: Unemployment, Injustice and Violence. According to the report, a growing body of evidence finds no relationship between unemployment and young people’s willingness to engage in or support political violence. Instead, recruitment is driven by factors such as discrimination, corruption, normalized violence, and poor governance. Furthermore, supply-side vocational training risks raising expectations that cannot be satisfied and aggravating perceptions of unfairness, especially where programs fail to target the most marginalized, are manipulated by local elites, or increase vocational skills rather than the supply of jobs.
On Feb. 19, 2015, Adeso, the Global Center on Cooperative Security and Oxfam, released Hanging by a Thread: The Ongoing Threat to Somalia’s Remittance Lifeline, which details how bank account closures impact many Somalians who depend on remittances, in order to fulfill basic survival needs and invest in small businesses. Remittances are handled by Money Transfer Operations (MTOs) who rely on banks to transfer the funds internationally. Due to the poor financial regulation, the presence of terrorist-listed groups in Somalia and a strict regulatory environment, several principle banks have closed their accounts with MTOs that serve Somalia, essentially, curtailing the flow of remittances sent by family members to help Somalians overseas. In response to public pressure and collective campaigns, the U.S. government has taken modest steps to help the Somali remittance system, but it is “startlingly unprepared to manage the potential fallout” of account closures. In Australia and the United Kingdom the response has also be slow. This report notes that failure to uphold the remittance system could result in black market and illegal money transfer systems that would increase the lack of accountability for transfer operators. It suggests practical steps that governments and actors within the international community should take to sustain the Somali money transfer system as well as the long-term solutions required to establish viable financial institutions within Somalia. The report is a follow up to the 2013 report Keeping the Lifeline Open: Remittances and Markets in Somalia.
European Interagency Security Forum published Communications technology and humanitarian delivery: challenges and opportunities for security risk management in October 2014. Here is their summary:
The articles contained in this publication are dispatches from a new frontline in humanitarian action: the digital frontier. All are written by those observing, experiencing and attempting to respond to the challenges created by the digital revolution and the very real threats it is creating for humanitarian operations. Our aim is to explore the potential of new tools to create a safer, more responsive operational environment for aid workers. (A section by section abstract follows.)
The UN has released the report of Maina Kiai, the Special Rapporteur on freedoms of peaceful assembly and of assocation, that "addresses concerns about the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the context of multilateral organizations," generally defined as groups made of up of three or more countries. The key finding is that "mulitaleral institutions find themeslves caught between civil society's demands for real civic participation and inclusiveness and pushback from Governments which are uncomfortable with, or are threated by, citizen involvement." The Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) recommendations for anti-terrorist financing regulation are criticized for creating a "wave of new restrictions worldwide on funding for civil society." Kiai cites FATF as an example of multilateral organizations that poes a "serious, disproportinate and unfair threat to those who have no connection with terrorism, includnig civil society organizations."
One year after President Obama’s speech at the United Nations on the need to protect civil society globally the White House released two documents that set out an ambitious agenda to strengthen civil society. First, a Presidential Memorandum directed federal agencies that conduct international work to take proactive steps in four concrete areas, and to report back on their progress annually. The second document, a Fact Sheet announced a new project to create Regional Civil Society Centers around the world and new actions as part of the administration’s Stand with Civil Society Agenda. These include a commitment to consult with civil society on revision of the Financial Action Task Force’s update of guidance on anti-terrorist financing regulations for nonprofits. The documents do not address issues of U.S. restrictions on civil society but potentially open the door to make progress on undue counterterrorism restrictions imposed on U.S. nonprofits. This summary provides details on the new commitments, provides commentary and highlights areas that could be most helpful in addressing counterterrorism restrictions.
In July, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR) published a report on the violations of due process rights in Treasury Dept’s terrorist designation and delisting process. The report covers the problems caused by the process, the legal framework that has allowed Treasury to violate due process rights, and the legal problems that must be addressed to correct the system.
A July 2014 report by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area examines the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the U.S. Department of Treasury process for listing (designating) and delisting people and organizations as terrorists or supporters of terrorism. It points out the lack of adequate due process for challenging a listing or remedy for being wronged.