Monday, May 7, 2018 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Please join the CSIS Human Rights Initiative, Charity and Security Network, and The Humanitarian Forum for the launch of a series of country case studies on de-risking in conflict zones. Global financial institutions are increasingly terminating or restricting relationships with U.S. nonprofit organizations (NPOs), financial intermediaries, and local organizations in various regions of the world, a trend called “de-risking.” This practice, combined with a complex terror environment, poses enormous challenges to organizations working to deliver aid in areas that need it most, as well as to government policies centered around financial institutions. As work progresses towards finding solutions for NPOs' financial access difficulties, it is integral to ensure that these solutions have a global reach. At the same time, efforts are being made to document the consequences of de-risking of foreign NPOs and their beneficiaries. During this event, expert panelists will discuss the findings of the country case studies, with a focus on Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Palestine.
* Stuart Gordon
Assistant Professor in Managing Humanitarianism and Program Director, International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, London School of Economics
* Tracey Durner
Senior Analyst, Global Center on Cooperative Security
"The world has witnessed an alarming rise in restrictions placed on civil society actors to curtail their space and operations, impeding upon the realization of their rights to the freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly - frequently in the name of countering terrorism and protecting national security, among other drivers," according to a March 2018 report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Counterterrorism Measures and Civil Society: Changing the Will, Finding the Way.
The report is a compilation of five case studies on closing civic space in Australia, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Hungary and India, with conclusions and recommendations from CSIS staff. According to the report's introduction, the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law has recorded the adoption of 64 restrictive laws on civil society from 2015 to 2016 alone, hindering the ability of civil society actors to "fulfill their vital role of protecting rights and providing services for citizens, and holding governments accountable." The tools used by governments to constrain civic space include legal constraints, arbitrary detention of activists, and verbal discrediting or public vilification through media campaigns or online trolling from non-state actors. Read more
A new study from the UK's Charity Finance Group found that 79% of charities face some kind of difficulty in accessing or using mainstream banking channels. The same number of respondents also said that banks had become "substantially or slightly more risk averse to them."
The report is based on results from the survey responses of 34 charities, ranging from medium and large organizations. Eighty-eight percent had income over £1 million, all worked overseas, 62% were secular organizations, 21% identified as Christian, and 12% as Islamic. The types of work conducted included humanitarian, sanitation, peacebuilding, medical assistance, research, human rights, education, welfare, children, grantmaking and environmental protection. Eighty-three percent worked in Africa, 74% in Asia and 62% in Europe. More than 50% worked in the MENA region.
The report, Impact of money laundering and counter-terrorism regulations on charities, found the following results:
41% had transfers delayed by a correspondent bank
32% had transfers delayed by their bank
27% had transfers denied by their bank
20% had transfers denied by a correspondent bank
15% had accounts closed
15% had delays in opening bank accounts
8% had donations blocked
8% had funds frozen
6% had accounts denied
For most respondents, banks did not provide any explanation for why the charities were being derisked. Read more