ODI's Study of West Bank and Gaza Civil Society Finds "A Humanitarian Sector in Debt"

September 11, 2018

A paper published by the Humanitarian Policy Group of the Overseas Development Institute, A humanitarian sector in debt: Counter-terrorism, bank de-risking and financial access for NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza, reveals the crippling effects that bank derisking has had on local humanitarian and development organizations in the West Bank and Gaza. This study draws on findings from interviews conducted in 2017 - 2018 and investigates the various coping strategies that Palestinian civil society members are using to compensate for lack of financial access and growing debt in a place where humanitarian assistance is crucial.

ODI's Somalia Case Study Looks at Bank Derisking and Humanitarian Actors

June 25, 2018

For the local humanitarian sector in Somalia to survive, systemic and structural shifts need to be put in place to ensure transparency within the financial system, and open up channels for financial access for local humanitarian actors, according to a new report from the Overseas Development Institute, The Challenge of Informality: Counter-terrorism, Bank De-risking and Financial Access for Humanitarian Organisations in Somalia. Read more

NRC Examines Impact of Counterterrorism, CVE on Humanitarian Action

June 25, 2018

A report from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Principles Under Pressure: The Impact of Counterterrorism Measures and Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism on Principled Humanitarian Action, aims to update the evidence base for the impact of counterterrorism measures on humanitarian groups' ability to deliver aid to populations under the control of designated terrorist groups. It also sets out to examine what impact, if any, the emerging areas of P/CVE has on principled humanitarian action. Read more

Mercy Corps Study Gives Youth a Chance

June 5, 2018

Increasing access to secondary education and civic engagement opportunities pulled Somali youth away from supporting violent groups, according to an April 2018 Mercy Corps report, If Youth are Given the Chance.The report assesses the impact of these two common approaches for reducing youths’ level of support for armed violence.

Mercy Corps surveyed over 1,000 young people from violence-affected regions in Somalia -- Somaliland, South Central Somalia, and Puntland. The extremist militant group that acts as a proxy for Al-Qaeda in the volatile Horn of Africa, Al-Shabaab, has sustained a decade-long insurgency there by exploiting the fragility of the nation. The catastrophic aftermath of the recent Mogadishu Bombing (October 14, 2017) showcases Somalia’s vulnerability to violence. The report argues that there is a large pool of exacerbated youth in Somalia that is fresh for recruitment and susceptible to indoctrination.

Presence and Proximity-To Stay and Deliver, Five Years On

May 30, 2018

In 2011, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published a landmark study, To Stay and Deliver, which documented practices of humanitarian organizations delivering aid -- particularly in highly insecure environments.  The report’s main objective was to propel a shift from humanitarian organizations asking “when do we have to leave” a conflict area to “how do we stay” for those who need us the most.

World Bank Report Examines Decline in Correspondent Bank Relationships

May 29, 2018

According to a new report from the World Bank, the effect derisking varies widely from country to country and does not affect broad categories of clients. The report, The Decline in Access to Correspondent Banking Services in Emerging Markets: Trends, Impacts and Solutions, examined the impact of derisking and found the effect at the macro level to be limited. At the same time, impact at the micro level is often intense, with banks losing access to the international financial system. Read more

UN Special Rapporteur’s Assessment of the United States’ Civil Society

April 25, 2018

In July 2016, Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, visited the United States on an official mission to assess the civil society’s freedoms of assembly and association. While regarding the United States as “a nation of ...resilience,”  Kiai stressed its current struggle “to live up to its ideals on a number of important issues.”

Kiai’s findings were largely unsurprising. He pinpointed the issue of racial, social and economic inequality as the most critical  when assessing assembly and association rights in the U.S.

“Racism and the exclusion, persecution and marginalization that come with it, affect the enabling environment for the exercise of association and assembly rights,” Kiai said.

Additionally, Kiai noted that economic inequality, unnecessarily militarized policing at some peaceful protests, intimidation of activists, lack of accountability for rights violations, disproportionate counter-terrorism measures, and increasing corporate power also largely influences and constraints civil society in America).

Country Visit: United States Of America (A/HRC/35/28/Add.2)

Report from HSC and ICNL Examines Drivers of De-risking

April 25, 2018

A new report from the Human Security Collective and the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law examines the drivers of the global trend known as "de-risking" as it relates to nonprofit organizations (NPOs). 

Inordinate delays in cash transfers, onerous due diligence requirements, inability to open bank accounts and arbitrary closure of bank accounts are all components of de-risking. The report, At the Intersection of Security and Regulation: Understanding the Drivers of "De-risking" and the Impact on Civil Society Organizations, examines these practices an looks at how regulations on money laundering and terrorist financing "permeate policymaking, influencing institutions (perversely, at times) and negatively impacting humanitarian and development work." Read more 

Report Examines Links Between Sanctions, Counterterrorism Measures and Humanitarian Action

April 18, 2018

In August 2017, Chatham House’s International Security Department and International Law Programme issued a report -- Recommendations for Reducing Tensions in the Interplay Between Sanctions, Counterterrorism Measures and Humanitarian Action -- that identifies concrete ways for all stakeholders to address the issue.

Often, sanctioned or terrorist-designated groups control areas of humanitarian need. The legal prohibitions regarding these groups can include incidental payments that humanitarian actors may need to make in order to operate. Continuous engagement between the international, state, banking and humanitarian sectors is critical to alleviating the tension, the report states. It asserts that systematically adopted exemptions in UN and EU sanctions regimes are the most effective way to ensure that restrictions do not apply to humanitarian action. Currently, only one conflict-related UN Security Council sanctions regime includes this type of exemption.