States often impose more burdensome regulations on associations than on businesses, according to a new report by the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association (A/70/266). The report notes that states have an obligation under international law to both protect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and to promote those rights. According to the Special Rapporteur, this includes a “duty to create the best possible enabling environment for the existence and operation of associations.”
Medical care for wounded combatants is compromised by counterterrorism laws and policies, according to a new report from the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, Medical Care in Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law and State Responses to Terrorism.
Foreign policy concerns regarding an “enabling environment” for civil society organizations (CSOs) are “frequently contradicted by the actions that states demand in the name of ‘counter-terrorism’,” according to an August 2015 report by Statewatch and the Human Security Collective, Countering terrorism or constraining civil society?
In April 2015, the Quaker United Nations Group and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict released a report titled How Civil Society Engagement can help the UN Peacebuilding’s Architecture Meet its Purpose. In addition to reviewing the UN’s Peacebuilding Architecture (PBA), the report explains how civil society is a vital link to the UN peacebuilding efforts as it helps the UN better understand the people and communities they serve.
An essay on FATF by the Charity & Security Network’s Kay Guinane is among the 27 guest contributions commissioned by CIVICUS for its State of Civil Society Report 2015 focus on civil society resourcing. “The International Anti-Terrorist Financing System’s Negative Effect on Civil Society Resources” examines the role of FATF in contributing to the global trend of restrictions on civil society. The essay describes the civil society response and advocacy campaigns on FATF, the successes to date and the work that lies ahead.
There is a growing consensus that laws prohibiting support to listed entities “have contributed to a ‘shrinking space’ for those seeking to establish the conditions conducive to peace.” This is the conclusion of a groundbreaking March 2015 report by the Transnational Institute, Building Peace in Permanent War: Terrorist Listing and Conflict Transformation.
Non-profit organizations (NPOs) most at risk of abuse by terrorists appear to be those engaged in service activities and those that operate in close proximity to an active terrorist threat, according the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) 2014 report, Risk of Terrorist Abuse in Non-Profit Organisations. The goal of the typologies report, as it has come to be known, was to better understand the terrorist threat to the NPO sector as it relates to FATF Recommendation 8 (R8), which directs countries to ensure their laws are adequate to prevent abuse of NPOs by terrorists. NPOs provided extensive input for the report and much of it was incorporated. However, in a letter responding to the report the NPOs also cautioned against extrapolating the case studies to the nonprofit sector globally. Overall, the evidence shows that the incidence of terrorist abuse of NPOs is low.
Improvements in peace are ultimately dependent on decreases in corruption, concludes a new report by the Institute for Economics & Peace, Peace and Corruption 2015. Although the report found that keeping corruption under control is essential for building and maintaining peaceful societies, there is no indication of the causal relationship between peace and corruption.
Experiences of injustice, rather than economics, drive youth to armed movements, according to a new report by Mercy Corps, Youth & Consequences: Unemployment, Injustice and Violence. According to the report, a growing body of evidence finds no relationship between unemployment and young people’s willingness to engage in or support political violence. Instead, recruitment is driven by factors such as discrimination, corruption, normalized violence, and poor governance. Furthermore, supply-side vocational training risks raising expectations that cannot be satisfied and aggravating perceptions of unfairness, especially where programs fail to target the most marginalized, are manipulated by local elites, or increase vocational skills rather than the supply of jobs.
On Feb. 19, 2015, Adeso, the Global Center on Cooperative Security and Oxfam, released Hanging by a Thread: The Ongoing Threat to Somalia’s Remittance Lifeline, which details how bank account closures impact many Somalians who depend on remittances, in order to fulfill basic survival needs and invest in small businesses. Remittances are handled by Money Transfer Operations (MTOs) who rely on banks to transfer the funds internationally. Due to the poor financial regulation, the presence of terrorist-listed groups in Somalia and a strict regulatory environment, several principle banks have closed their accounts with MTOs that serve Somalia, essentially, curtailing the flow of remittances sent by family members to help Somalians overseas. In response to public pressure and collective campaigns, the U.S. government has taken modest steps to help the Somali remittance system, but it is “startlingly unprepared to manage the potential fallout” of account closures. In Australia and the United Kingdom the response has also be slow. This report notes that failure to uphold the remittance system could result in black market and illegal money transfer systems that would increase the lack of accountability for transfer operators. It suggests practical steps that governments and actors within the international community should take to sustain the Somali money transfer system as well as the long-term solutions required to establish viable financial institutions within Somalia. The report is a follow up to the 2013 report Keeping the Lifeline Open: Remittances and Markets in Somalia.