A May 2013 article in the Harvard National Security Journal outlines how the “material support” statute has led some humanitarian organizations to scale back or withdraw assistance programs in conflict zones where aid is often most needed. After providing background on the law and the way it has been enforced, it makes recommendations for reforms, including prosecutorial guidelines to formalize safe harbors to allow for humanitarian activities in these types of places.
An April 2013 study argues that the terrorist listing process in the U.S., European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK) limits the ability of peacebuilders to help mitigate and end violent conflicts around the world. Listing Terrorists: The Impact of Proscription on Third-Party Efforts to Engage Armed Groups in Peace Processes- A Practitioner’s Perspective, by Sophie Haspeslagh, former Head of Policy at Conciliation Resources, discusses how various terrorist listing program
A February 2012 report from the Transnational Institute and Statewatch finds that the legal and regulatory measures the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommends are being used by governments to suppress nonprofits. The FATF is an international consortium of 36 countries that sets anti-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering standards used by 180 countries.
To achieve peace in today’s complex conflicts, Track II peacebuilding efforts are becoming increasingly important. The most famous of these produced the Oslo accords in 1993. Highlighting the importance of Track II activities, the United states Institute of Peace (USIP) has published, Conducting Track II Peace Making. Written for both Track I and Track II practitioners, this handbook explains the different stages of Track II activities, from assessment and planning to implementation and evaluation. Track II activities typically involve reputable academic, religious, and NGO leaders and other civil society actors experienced in conflict mediation or other areas of social and political expertise.
National security measures in the U.S. negatively impact the speed and mobility of humanitarian relief in the wake of disasters. Deadly Combination: Disaster, Conflict and the U.S. Material Support Law by the Charity & Security Network considers two cases: The 2011 famine in Somalia and the summer 2010 floods in Pakistan. In both cases, by giving priority to military objective, the U.S. impaired effective aid delivery by humanitarian organizations, exacerbating the hardship caused by the disasters.
The politicization of disaster response in conflict zones obstructs timely and effective aid delivery and also jeopardizes the safety of aid workers. The current U.S. government response to disasters occurring alongside terrorist organizations is, at best, a 'wink and nod' gesture that allows for limited access for humanitarian groups (and no legal protections) and, at worst, a blanket ban on any humanitarian operation.
In the Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, Chief Justice John Roberts argued that terrorist groups could “use humanitarian and international law…as part of a broader strategy to promote terrorism,” by pursuing “peaceful negotiation as a means of buying time to recover from short-term setbacks, lulling opponents into complacency, and ultimately preparing for renewed attacks.”
The report is an update to the OMB Watch March 2006 report, Muslim Charities and the War on Terror: Top Ten Concerns and Status Update. The update summarizes action by the U.S. government to shut down American Muslim charities since 2006, and gives updates on the status of litigation and other efforts by charities. It also details the unwarranted government investigation and surveillance of Muslim communities and charities. The report concludes by examining how the American Muslim charitable sector has addressed government scrutiny by implementing rigorous due diligence procedures, and educating politicians and the public to combat Islamophobia.
The Humanitarian Response Index (HRI) aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of humanitarian aid for at-risk populations by identifying and promoting best practices for donor governments and civil society. Produced by DARA, the latest HRI says anti-terrorism measures like the “material support” prohibition make it extremely difficult for aid agencies to meet the needs of at-risk civilians.