Barriers to Charity

Barriers to Charity Overview

Date: 
April 26, 2011

Headlines & Opinion

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Reports 

Events 

"Terrorism" Toolkit Will Offer Guidance to Charities

Date: 
July 20, 2009

As counterterrorism measures continue to evolve, the UK Charity Commission has begun collecting information for developing a toolkit for charities on how to deal with terrorism legislation and related measures in their sector.  They are requesting charities and NGOs to submit examples of situations and issues affecting them that the Commission should examine and possibly include in the toolkit.  More information is available from British Overseas NGOs for Development

Treasury's Guidance for Humanitarian NGOs a Disappointment, More Needs to Done

A statement released by the Charity & Security Network calls Treasury's Oct. 17 Guidance on licensing for humanitarian assistance by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) a disappointment, noting that "the Guidance is mostly clarification of current policy, rather than an effort to address systemic problems." Caling it a good start, the Network says "much more needs to be done to address U.S. legal restrictions on nonprofit organizations responding to humanitarian crises."

The statement notes that the Guidance does not have the force of law, making it the weakest vehicle for addressing serious problems with the licensing system. It calls on the administration to treat the Guidance as a first step and engage in dialog with a representative group of nonprofits to take "stronger steps to facilitate nonprofit programs." It identifies concrete steps the administration can take, including support for the Humanitarian Assistance Facilitation Act.

Charity & Security Network Calls Treasury Guidance for Humanitarian NGOs a Disappointment

Date: 
October 28, 2014

The Charity & Security Network released a statement on Oct. 28, 2014 that analyzes the Department of Treasury's Oct. 17, 2014 Guidance Related to the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance by Not-for-Profit Non-Governmental Organizations and concludes that "much more needs to be done to address U.S. legal restrictions on nonprofit organizations responding to humanitarian crises." Noting that the Guidance states that it has no legal force, the Network notes that it is "mostly clarification of current policy, rather than an effort to address systemic problems."  The Network calls for more dialog on the issue with a representative group of nonprofits that addresses licensing barriers for both humanitarian and nonprofits engaged in peacebuilding support and other important activities.

Treasury’s Informational Licensing Guidance for Humanitarian NGOs Falls Short

Date: 
October 24, 2014

On Oct. 17, 2014 the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) released  Guidance Related to the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance by Not for Profit Non-Governmental Organizations, intended to provide clarification for nonprofits seeking licenses for activities that would otherwise be prohibited by economic sanctions programs. The document states it “does not have the force of law” and does not include key proposals made by nonprofits, such as clear standards for nonprofit licenses and timelines for decisions on license applications.  It does not address the needs of development, peacebuilding, human rights or other types of nonprofit programs abroad.  The licensing process has been criticized by nonprofits for being slow and non-transparent.  The Guidance is a step in the right direction but more will need to be done to address problems nonprofits have experienced, most glaringly seen in the Somalia famine of 2011.

Treasury Releases Informational Licensing Guidance for Humanitarian NGOs

Date: 
October 17, 2014

On Oct. 17, 2014 the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) released a document titled Guidance Related to the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance by Not for Profit Non-Governmental Organizations.

The two-page document provides some clarification of the status quo without making substantive changes called for by the nonprofit sector or committing to specific actions OFAC may take to address systemic problems with its licensing system. It does not address the problems the State Department's involvement in licensing creates, including delays and politicization of humanitarian decisions.

In addition, the document clearly states that it is for informational purposes only and does not have the force of law. It does not address the needs of development, peacebuilding, human rights or other types of nonprofit programs abroad.

While clarifications from OFAC are welcome, the overall thrust of the document is to restate existing policies and provide assurances that have no legal force.  The most positive view is that it is a good beginning for a dialog between OFAC, the State Department and the nonprofit sector on the next phase of improvements needed.

For background information see U.S. Civil Society Submission to the UN Human Rights Commission, Sept. 15, 2014, describing human rights problems with the licensing system.

CIVICUS Report on State of Civil Society 2014

Date: 
July 17, 2014

The State of Civil Society Report 2014, released annually by CIVICUS, outlines the global trend of governments limiting civil society organization's power.  This year's report also details the increase in civil unrest and protests occurring around the world.  The report authors attribute this civil unrest to growing trend of the economic elite colluding with politically powerful individuals to make self-serving policies that restrict the space in which non-profits can operate.

Study Examines Counterterrorism Clauses in Grants

Date: 
May 22, 2014

The Harvard Law School/Brookings Project on Law and Security published a May 2014, An Analysis of Contemporary Counterterrorism-related Clauses in Humanitarian Grant and Partnership Agreement Contracts that takes an in-depth look at donor-imposed counterterrorism obligations on humanitarian organizations.

UK: Muslim Charities 'Disproportionately' Affected by Anti-Terror Laws (Civil Society UK)

Date: 
May 15, 2014
Author: 
Kirstey Weakly (Civil Society UK)

From: Kirsty Weakley Civil Society UK, on May 9, 2014

A prominent Muslim charity leader has warned the Charity Commission that scrutiny is falling "disproportionately" on Muslim charities because of counter-terror legislation.

Abdurahman Sharif, operations manager at the Muslim Charities Forum, an umbrella body for Muslim charities, told Civil Society News that since 2001, when new counter-terrorism legislation came to force, charities have been under increased scrutiny.

Report: Protect and Expand Space for Civil Society

Date: 
March 13, 2014

Reform repressive laws that harm civil society, says a March 2014 report from the Act Alliance and CIDSE. The report cites a growing trend of governments passing laws and regulations that impair civil society groups’ ability to assemble, carry out programs and operate without fear. “Civil society must have space to speak out, to educate and mobilize, in short, to ensure that everyone gets a say in the way their country is run,” said the report.

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