STUDY: Talking to the Other Side- Humanitarian negotiations with Al-Shabaab in Somalia

January 9, 2014

Published by the Humanitarian Policy Group in December 2013, Talking to the Other Side –Humanitarian Negotiations with Al-Shabaab in Somalia is an in-depth study that sheds light on dynamics and details of negotiations between aid organizations and Al-Shabaab, primarily between 2008 and the famine of 2011.  It provides historical context to the impossible choices facing aid agencies and details how both Al-Shabaab and the actions of donor governments ex

Study: Host States Key in Protection of Aid Workers

October 3, 2013

Host States and Their Impact on Security for Humanitarian Operations, released by Humanitarian Outcomes, aims to explore why major violence against aid workers is increasingly concentrated in a small number of extremely insecure countries. The findings suggest that attacks on humanitarian aid workers are mainly a symptom of state failure as well as a byproduct of war.

Report: Counterterrorism Measures Stifle Humanitarian Action, by UN OCHA and the NRC

July 25, 2013

Over the last decade counterterrorism measures (CTMs) like the Patriot Act are having a direct and adverse impact on humanitarian action conducted by aid agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), a July 2013 study finds.  Commissioned by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the study, titled Study of the Impact of Donor Counter-Terrorism Measures on Principled Humanitarian Action, examines CTMs in the U.S., European Union and several other countries and determined that they unduly restrict aid programs, increase risks for aid workers, limit funding sources, and undermine partnerships with local NGOs.  International pressure on governments from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to adopt overly-restrictive regulations of NGOs to prevent terrorist financing also draws scrutiny in the study. The release announcement said, "The major conclusion is that the humanitarian community and donor States need to work more closely together to better reconcile counter-terrorism measures and humanitarian action." In September NRC and OCHA will host an event in New York to initiate such discussions.

Article: Chilling Effect of the Material Support Statute on Humanitarian Aid

June 20, 2013

A May 2013 article in the Harvard National Security Journal outlines how the “material support” statute has led some humanitarian organizations to scale back or withdraw assistance programs in conflict zones where aid is often most needed.  After providing background on the law and the way it has been enforced, it makes recommendations for reforms, including prosecutorial guidelines to formalize safe harbors to allow for humanitarian activities in these types of places.

Handbook Explores Different Approaches to Peacebuilding

June 20, 2013

“In order for peacebuilding to be successful,” the ACCORD Peacebuilding Handbook says, “there is a strong need to understand local contexts and to develop strategies that address root causes of conflict.”  Released in April 2013, the Handbook provides an introductory look at the various actors involved in and phases of peacebuilding efforts and identifies different approaches that practitioners have used in recent history when trying to end conflicts nonviolently. “As can be expected from such an ambitious undertaking, a large variety of peacebuilding tasks are conducted at different levels (grass-roots, sub-national, national and international) and at different stages of a conflict-to-peace spectrum (pre-conflict through to post-conflict environments),” it says. The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) is a conflict management organization based in Durban, South Africa, and has worked with former President Nelson Mandela in facilitating the role of civil society in the peace process in Burundi.

Study Finds Terrorist Listing Inhibits Peace Programs

April 29, 2013

An April 2013 study argues that the terrorist listing process in the U.S., European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK) limits the ability of peacebuilders to help mitigate and end violent conflicts around the world. Listing Terrorists: The Impact of Proscription on Third-Party Efforts to Engage Armed Groups in Peace Processes- A Practitioner’s Perspective, by Sophie Haspeslagh, former Head of Policy at Conciliation Resources, discusses how various terrorist listing program

Report: Repressive Regimes Use Anti-Terrorist Financing Measures to Suppress Civil Society

May 30, 2012

A February 2012 report from the Transnational Institute and Statewatch finds that the legal and regulatory measures the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommends are being used by governments to suppress nonprofits. The FATF is an international consortium of 36 countries that sets anti-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering standards used by 180 countries. 

Track II Diplomacy: Laying the Groundwork for Peace

May 2, 2012

To achieve peace in today’s complex conflicts, Track II peacebuilding efforts are becoming increasingly important. The most famous of these produced the Oslo accords in 1993. Highlighting the importance of Track II activities, the United states Institute of Peace (USIP) has published, Conducting Track II Peace Making. Written for both Track I and Track II practitioners, this handbook explains the different stages of Track II activities, from assessment and planning to implementation and evaluation. Track II activities typically involve reputable academic, religious, and NGO leaders and other civil society actors experienced in conflict mediation or other areas of social and political expertise.