Resources

Rule Allows Charities Listed as Terrorist Supporters to Access, Pay Lawyers in Most Cases

Date: 
June 18, 2017
Author: 

When a nonprofit organization (NPO) is listed by the U.S. government as a supporter of terrorism its assets within U.S. jurisdiction are generally frozen – or “blocked.”  In order to contest the listing NPOs may need to access funds to pay for legal representation. Since December 2010 the Department of Treasury’s sanctions regulations https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-12-07/html/2010-30520.htm  permit NPOs and other entities and individuals to obtain free legal services and in some cases, to arrange payment for lawyers without first obtaining a license.

The regulation covers legal representation for groups or people listed under EO 12947 (1995), listing designations for those engaged in violence that threatens the Middle East peace process, EO 13224 (2001), which lists Specially Designated Global Terrorists and Foreign Terrorist Organizations listed by the Secretary of State. The rule can be found in Volume 75 Page 75904 of the Federal Register and in 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations Parts 594, 595, and 597.

Report Examines Impact of FATF on Civil Society

Date: 
May 23, 2017

Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendation 8 and FATF recommendations following evaluations add to the restrictions faced by civil society organizations, according to a new report from Bread for the World, The Impact of International Counterterrorism on Civil Society Organisations: Understanding the Role of the Financial Action Task Force

Asserting that the links between measures that fight the financing of terrorism and civic space are not known widely, the report aims to "inform civil society organisations and non-profit organisations (NPOs), but also political decision makers who are not familiar with anti-terrorism measures." Specifically, it explains the role of FATF in setting international standards that affect the way in which civil society organisations are regulated by nation-states, their access to financial services, and their obligations to avoid proscribed organisations and other groups deemed to pose a terrorism risk. 

Brennan Center Report Examines CVE in the Trump Era

Date: 
May 11, 2017
Author: 

Although Trump's hostility towards Muslims has been well-documented in the press, countering violent extremism programs initiated during the Obama administration, while couched in neutral terms, set the stage for a focus xclusively on Muslims. 

This, despite the fact that empirical data show that violence from far right movements results in at least as many fatalities in the U.S. as attacks inspried by al Qaeda or the Islamic State, notes a March 2017 report from the Brennan Center for Justice, Countering Violent Extremism. In addition to stigmatizing Muslim communities as inherently suspect, it also creates serious risks of flagging innocuous activity as pre-terrorism and suppressing religious observance and speech, the report explains. "These flaws are only exacerbated when CVE programs are run by an administration that is overtly hostile towards Muslims, and that includes within its highest ranks individuals known for their frequent and public denunciations of a faith that is practiced by 1.6 billion people around the world," the report states. 

The report asserts that future CVE programs are unlikely to achieve security benefits, and meanwhile carry the risk of "damaging critical relationships between law enforcement and Muslim communities, further undermining the goal of preventing terrorism." As such, the report recommends a shift towards a framework that sees American Muslims as a source of strength rather than suspicion. 

Read the full report

UK Study Seeks Reconciliation of Humanitarian, Counterterrorism Goals

Date: 
May 11, 2017

A new study from Chatham House and the Royal United Services Institute in the UK finds that humanitarian objectives are often stymied by counterterrorism laws designed to prevent assistance or funds going to non-state armed groups. Humanitarian Action and Non-state Armed Groups: The UK Regulatory Environment asserts that to resolve this conflict, the UK government needs to adopt a clear, unified approach to reconciling its humanitarian and counterterrorism priorities. 

The report finds that the licensing system under sanctions regimes is opaque and ineffective, recommending that the UK government seek humanitarian exemptions, as well as simplify and expedite its domestic licensing system. It also notes that although the government cites prosecutorial discretion in asserting that there is no need for additional guidance around potential criminal penalties for incidental payments to listed groups, "prosecutorial discretion is insufficient comfort for humanitarian actors anxious to avoid breaking the law and the wide offences have a 'chilling effect'." 

Two UK government has dismissed recommendations to explore the possibility of introducing exceptions to counterterrorism legislation for humanitarian activities. It argues that legislative change would create a loophole open to exploitation. The Chatham House study recommends that this option should be explored further, with consideration of foreign laws and international instruments. 

The report also addresses the global phenomenon of bank de-risking and its impact on humanitarian aid organizations. The report authors urge the UK government to move proactively to counter this trend and to engage in international dialogue aimed at finding solutions. 

Read the full report

Study Finds Insufficient Justification for PVS Rollout

Date: 
May 10, 2017

There is insufficient justification for a global rollout of the U.S. government's Partner Vetting System (PVS), according to a December 2016 Policy Paper from InterAction, Partner Vetting Independent Assessment: Insufficient Justification for a Global Rollout

Partner vetting is an additional due diligence procedure used by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of State to ensure that foreign assistance does not inadvertently benefit terrorists or their supporters. The paper is primarily concerned with the role of U.S. nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the vetting system, and supports three general conclusions. First, implementation of the PVS pilot was not consistent enough to form the bases for a global program. Second, direct vetting wasn't sufficiently implemented. Third, the significant number of critiques could, if addressed, alleviate some of the negative consequences of PVS. Therefore, InterAction has recommended that the USAID and State extend the PVS pilot for another three years, and to implement direct vetting as well as the recommendations made in the policy paper. 

The recommendations include create a formal system to exempt vetting in certain circumstances, including humanitarian emergencies; exempt small sub-awards; exempt beneficiaries; and exempt awards for the sensitive work of democracy, rights and governance.

Read the full paper

 

Report: Countering Terrorism Financing’s Effects on Gender Equality & Security

Date: 
April 18, 2017

A new report prepared by the Duke Law International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) and the Women Peacemakers Program (WPP) looks at the effects of countering terrorism financing (CTF) measures on women’s rights organizing, women’s rights organizations, and gender equality globally, especially in areas of conflict or at risk of terrorism.  

Analysis: Permissible Activities for Peacebuilders - Based on Statements by U.S. Officials

Date: 
April 14, 2017

Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project (HLP), peacebuilding organizations have faced significant uncertainty as to what communications with Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) remain permissible under the prohibition on material support of terrorism in 18 USC 2339B.  Although there have been no prosecutions for peacebuilding activities since the decision, the lack of clarity about how it should be interpreted and applied has created a chilling impact on peacebuilding activities, inhibited constitutionally permitted speech and association, and reduced the kinds of contacts that might help prevent/counter violent extremism and terrorism. This fact sheet is intended to provide a measure of clarity by drawing on representations made by the government to the Supreme Court during oral argument and in its brief in the Holder litigation about what it considers to be permissible communications with listed groups.[1] A chart summarizing these statements is included. A PDF of this analysis is available here.

Mind the Gap: When It Comes To Nonprofits the Tax Code and Sanctions Regime Are In Conflict

Date: 
February 23, 2017
Author: 

When U.S. sanctions laws are applied to U.S. charities, funds can be frozen indefinitely, despite tax rules that require they be distributed for charitable purposes when a charity shuts down. In the Oct. 10, 2016 issue of Tax Notes, attorneys Cherie L. Evans of Evans & Rosen LLP and Kay Guinane, Director of the Charity & Security Network, explain how the “Gap Between Tax and Sanctions Law Blocks Life-Saving Aid.” After summarizing the relevant provisions of tax and sanctions law and key court cases, the article explains how designation of a U.S.

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