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.
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.
For the local humanitarian sector in Somalia to survive, systemic and structural shifts need to be put in place to ensure transparency within the financial system, and open up channels for financial access for local humanitarian actors, according to a new report from the Overseas Development Institute, The Challenge of Informality: Counter-terrorism, Bank De-risking and Financial Access for Humanitarian Organisations in Somalia. Read more
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
Increasing access to secondary education and civic engagement opportunities pulled Somali youth away from supporting violent groups, according to an April 2018 Mercy Corps report, If Youth are Given the Chance.The report assesses the impact of these two common approaches for reducing youths’ level of support for armed violence.
Mercy Corps surveyed over 1,000 young people from violence-affected regions in Somalia -- Somaliland, South Central Somalia, and Puntland. The extremist militant group that acts as a proxy for Al-Qaeda in the volatile Horn of Africa, Al-Shabaab, has sustained a decade-long insurgency there by exploiting the fragility of the nation. The catastrophic aftermath of the recent Mogadishu Bombing (October 14, 2017) showcases Somalia’s vulnerability to violence. The report argues that there is a large pool of exacerbated youth in Somalia that is fresh for recruitment and susceptible to indoctrination.
In 2011, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published a landmark study, To Stay and Deliver, which documented practices of humanitarian organizations delivering aid -- particularly in highly insecure environments. The report’s main objective was to propel a shift from humanitarian organizations asking “when do we have to leave” a conflict area to “how do we stay” for those who need us the most.