Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced Senate Resolution 171 on April 18, 2019 call on the administration to restore U.S. assistance to civilians in the West Bank and Gaza. Joined by five co-sponsors, S Res 171 also calls on Congress to clarify provisions of the 2018 Antiterrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) so that acceptance for funds for food and essential humanitarian services cannot be used to trigger jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority for ATCA lawsuits in U.S. courts. A statement from 18 organizations, including the Charity & Security Network, supports the resolution and release of the funds.
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The Charity and Security Network monitors U.S. and foreign government activities and a wide range of news sources to identify developments in national security policy that impact civil society and nonprofit organizations. We collect and disseminate relevant information on our website, via our Twitter and Facebook accounts, and through our biweekly email newsletter, which contains links to a variety of news articles. To read the most recent issues of our email newsletter or to subscribe, click here.
Our staff also creates news pieces on events and developments of particular interest to our members that are not covered in other news outlets. Those stories can be found below, in revese chronological order.
The UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2462 to “Combat, Criminalize Financing of Terrorists, Their Activities” on March 28, 2019 that is binding on all member states and can be enforced by UN sanctions. Sponsored by France, Resolution 2462 is the results of intense behind-the-scenes negotiations, including efforts by civil society to include clear safeguards for humanitarian and peacebuilding activities as well as cautions against further bank derisking of nonprofit organizations. It is the first comprehensive UN resolution on countering financing of terrorism (CFT), incorporating a patchwork of previous resolutions and broadening CFT efforts to address new threats and improve investigation and enforcement activities. Notably, Resolution 2462 requires member states to take international humanitarian (IHL), human rights law (IHRL) and refugee (IRL) law into account and make CFT efforts consistent with these existing legal obligations. These safeguards, which are weaker than what civil society proposed, will require civil society engagement at both the UN and member state level to build understanding of what IHL, IHRL and IRL require and advocate for appropriate implementation. This engagement will be a major factor in how Resolution 2462 impacts civil society, as there are no clear enforcement mechanisms for violations of these human rights and humanitarian standards. Read a full summary of Resolution 2462 here.
The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act (S.1158) was signed into law by President Trump on January 14 after passing both the full Senate (on December 12, 2018) and the House of Representatives (December 21, 2018). The bipartisan bill, named after Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, requires a government-wide atrocity prevention strategy, affirms the work of the Atrocities Prevention Board and other practical steps aimed at identifying countries at risk and implementing prevention programs. The Friends Committee for National Legislation (FCNL), which coordinated a broad coalition of the bill’s supporters, praised the bill's passage. The Charity & Security network is one of more than 70 organizations that signed on to a statement in support of a the bill.
The Department of Treasury published an update to its 2015 National Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment (NTFRA) on Dec. 20, 2018 as part of a new National Strategy for Combating Terrorist and Other Illicit Financing, which also covers money laundering and nuclear proliferation. The NTRFA cited the top threats as ISIS, Hizbollah, Al Qaeda and al-Shabaab and banks and money services businesses as the most vulnerable to abuse. Cash transactions were cited as an increasing threat. The NTFRA recognized that the charitable sector overall is low risk, but noted that charities operating in areas where terrorist groups operate are face increased risk, particularly in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. The U.S. nonprofit sector provided input to Treasury on the NTFRA, noting that increasing difficulties accessing financial services from regulator providers forces charities to use more risky methods of moving funds, including carrying cash. The NTFRA did not mention this issue.