Barriers to Charity
Headlines & Opinion
- VIDEO: Aid Experts Discuss Challenges Working in Conflict Zones with Terrorist Groups
- EU: Time to Examine Counterterrorism Policies
- Why Fight Terrorism with One Hand Tied Behind our Back?
- Internal Investigator Finds that UN Counterterror Measures Chill Humanitarian Aid
- Provision that Criminalizes Conflict Resolution Training Ignored by Senate Committee
- House Judiciary Committee Discussion of Humanitarian Exemption to Material Support
- Americans Support Foreign Policy that Targets Terrorism's Roots
- Saudis No Example for Rules on Charities
- Diverse Group of NGOs Meet with Obama Admin on New Rules for Charities
- Amendment to State Secrets Laws would Expand Barriers to Humanitarian Aid
- Heavy Sentences in Holy Land Trial Send Chilling Message to US NGOs
- Holy Land Conviction Raises Concerns and Questions for US NGOs
- IMPACT: Counterterrorism Measure on Charities and Donors After 9/11 (printable handout)
- CSN Report: How the Work of Charities Counters Terror
- Terrorism "Toolkit" for Charities
- Legal Rulings Diminish Charitable Giving and Impact
- Recommendations to Obama Transition Team
- Book: Countering the Politics of Fear
- Book: Regulation of the Voluntary Sector
- Book: Civil Society Under Strain
- Report on State of the Humanitarian System: Politicization of Aid Disrupts Aid Delivery
- Friend Not Foe- Opening Spaces for Civil Society Engagement to Prevent Violent Extremism
- UN Report shows that Security Measures that Restrict Humanitarian Access Hurt Civilians
- NGOs Threatened by Harsh Legal Constraints
- Laws Stifle NGO Activity and Debate on Policy Matters
- Americans Adverse to Government Supporting Muslim Charities
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
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.
The Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published Iran General Licenses E and F in the Federal Register on Feb. 24, 2014, after first issuing the licenses online on Sept. 10, 2013. License E authorizes nongovernmental organizations (NGO) to carry out humanitarian, reconstruction, environmental conservation projects and human rights and democracy building programs, subject to two limitations: 1.) a single NGO cannot send more than $500,000 in fund transfer per year in support of these activities, and 2.) quarterly reports must be submitted to OFAC. License F authorizes services in support of professional and sports activities and exchanges between the U.S. and Iran. Full text of the licenses:
On Jan. 23, 2104 Samantha Power, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN spoke at a Ford Foundation gathering on civil society in New York City.
“Hostility toward external actors engaged in democracy and rights support has in some places reached shocking new heights,” is the troubling finding of a new report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In Closing Space: Democracy and Human Rights Support Under Fire, the authors describe the scope, causes, and prospective future actions of disturbing trends in the global pushback against non-governmental organizations (NGOs). And the onerous restrictions on aid and rights groups are not limited to authoritarian regimes, but are being embraced by “a growing number of democratic governments,” the report warns.
The report identifies several methods by which governments limit the abilities of these groups from meeting the needs of the people they serve through regulatory and funding restrictions, harassment, and the widespread targeting of international groups. It further notes that unless there is a stronger, persistent response to these restrictions at the international level, these changes are “likely to persist for the foreseeable future.”
For the past several years several U.S. nonprofits, including the Charity & Security Network, have worked with Congressional staff to encourage oversight of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the Department of Treasury, where charities have had serious problems with the process for licensing charitable programs that would be otherwise prohibited by sanctions law. The efforts paid off in January 2014 when the Omnibus appropriations bill included language that requires Treasury to report to the House Committee on Appropriations on its plans for reducing delays in the license application process. The report is due in March. The language says:
Director of the Charity & Security Network, Kay Guinane was featured on WPFW- Pacifica Radio with David Rabin in Washington, D.C. to discuss how U.S. law inhibits legitimate charitable work through overbroad counterterror laws. "After the Patriot Act passed, the U.S. law put restrictions on what legitimate organizations can do," Guinane said, "during the famine in Somalia in 2011, U.S. charities were not able to get into areas controlled by al-Shabbab because it was listed as a terrorist organization... it would have been illegal for them to have any transactions with al-Shabaab even if it is for the purpose of reaching civilians."
It is midway through January 2014 and the past few weeks my email inbox has been flooded with messages from a host of organizations about the New Year and their plans and goals. Now it’s my turn! I have been assessing the opportunities in 2014 for strengthening protections for nonprofits whose operations are impacted by counterterrorism laws and looking at the current and growing challenges. What I see makes me optimisitc.
From: Afrique en Linge, Jan. 11, 2014.