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  • Senate Appropriations Report Requires Treasury/USAID to Address Barriers to Disaster Response
    provision is expected to become part of the final report for FY13 and reflects bipartisan concern in Congress over the federal agencies slow and ineffective response to the famine 4 The report language states 3 at p 50 51 INTERNATIONAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE Appropriations 2012 975 000 000 Budget estimate 2013 960 000 000 Committee recommendation 1 250 000 000 The Committee recommends 1 250 000 000 for International Disaster Assistance Crisis Response The Committee directs the Secretary of the Treasury in coordination with the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator after consultation with the Committee to submit a report detailing current OFAC guidelines and policies regarding humanitarian access to areas controlled by sanctioned entities including current timelines for granting licenses OFAC mechanisms for responding to crisis early warning parameters of the OFAC license for Somalia in 2011 and recommendations for how such guidelines and policies can be modified to streamline the process and enable humanitarian organizations to respond in a timely and effective manner when crises occur Somalia The Committee is concerned with the slow response to the 2011 famine in Somalia the ongoing extreme vulnerability of the Somali population and credible reports of corruption and human rights violations by the Somalia Transitional Federal Government Assistance for the STFG should be subject to financial transparency controls and respect for human rights and the Department of State and USAID should closely monitor the Famine Early Warning System and other credible reports in order to respond in a timely manner to future crises The Committee directs the USAID Administrator to submit a report describing humanitarian and other assistance for Somali civilians in areas under de facto control of the al Shabaab terrorist organization to include current and future operational plans to deliver assistance and detailing any policy or regulatory restrictions that

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/802 (2016-02-16)
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  • Send by email | Charity & Security Network
    sensitive Switch to audio verification Home page Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial Action Task Force FATF Financial Access Peacebuilding Countering Violent Extremism Click Here For More Issues Solutions Principles to Guide Solutions Models to Draw On Proposed Solutions News The latest headlines Resources Litigation Analysis Background Legislation Studies Reports Experts Blog About Us Staff Contact Search form Search Stay Up To Date Subscribe Publications The Latest News C SN

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/printmail/802 (2016-02-16)
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  • Crises in Africa Showcase Complexity of Humanitarian Access in Conflict Zones
    group s financing stigmatize and isolate it internationally heighten public awareness and knowledge and signal to other governments that US takes the threat from Boko Haram seriously It would also increase the difficulty of aid groups negotiating access to areas under Boko Haram s control The Nigerian government however has chosen to pursue a diplomatic route as several high ranking officials expressed their desire to conduct talks with Boko Haram The Guardian Nigeria commended this action 7 in an editorial arguing that Government on the one hand and all militant groups on the other for their own sake and for the sake of Nigeria must come together to address matters of disagreement Sudan and South Sudan Though also in the Sahel region the conflict in Sudan has primarily been the product of oil and factional disputes rather than drought and disease Since declaring independence in July 2011 the new state of South Sudan has been embroiled in violent disputes along its borders with Sudan particularly in the Sudanese controlled areas Kordofan and Blue Nile States The rebel group Sudanese People s Liberation Movement North SPLM N has been fighting with Sudan a U S listed State Sponsor of Terrorism for control of oil in the Korodfan and Blue Nile States The fighting has displaced over 400 000 8 Sudanese citizens SPLM N has also accused Sudan of starving those residents who have not been able to flee to the south According to an SPLM N officia 9 l over half a million Sudanese are being held hostage by the government He urged the international community to remain focused on the issue of humanitarian aid for those trapped with no food no medicine and no shelter U S charities must get licenses from the Treasury Department to operate humanitarian programs in areas included in the state sponsor of terrorism sanctions On March 27 2012 the U S Senate backed the call for humanitarian relief 10 with a resolution that urged immediate and unrestricted humanitarian access to the areas affected by the conflict The resolution calls on the government of Sudan and SPLM N to come to a mutually beneficial agreement to quell violence The resolution also supports the efforts of the Obama administration which on April 4 called for nearly 26 million in emergency funding to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to assist those fleeing from the armed conflict On May 14 Sudanese lawmakers accepted a resolution 11 from the UN Security Council to end hostilities with South Sudan with reservations The head of the parliament foreign relations committee Mohamed al Hassan said that they would reject negotiations with SPLM N because it was an armed movement Al Hassan also rejected allowing aid agencies that had hostile activities into the country Somalia The famine in Somalia which made headlines in 2011 was called as the worst humanitarian disaster in the world according to the UN 12 In total over 13 million people required humanitarian assistance in Horn of Africa Like

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/794 (2016-02-16)
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  • Treasury Denies Request for General License for Aid to Somalia | Charity & Security Network
    process has a reputation for inefficient lengthy and burdensome response from Treasury s Office of Foreign Assets Control A General License would eliminate the need for this process for NGOs that stay within the terms in the license Related Hunger Without Borders and Discriminatory Aid Policies October 2011 Treasury s letter to InterAction sent in November 2011 in response to an August request says the situation in Somalia does not lend itself to a broad general license because al Shabaab has threatened and carried out violent attacks against innocents and aid workers so that the situation does not lend itself to a broad general license In contrast Treasury issued a General License for humanitarian aid in Syria in September 2011 The need for increased aid in Somalia remains The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs OCHA IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis says the famine continues and that thousands are in danger of being cut off from aid by the conflict between al Shabaab and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and the oncoming rainy season Many face food and drug shortages Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial Action Task Force FATF Financial Access Peacebuilding Countering Violent Extremism Click

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Treasury_Denies_General_License_for_Aid_to_Somalia (2016-02-16)
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  • U.S. Senators Call For Reforming Laws that Impede Humanitarian Assistance in Somalia
    of the law governing material support for terrorism is prohibiting organizations from delivering essential humanitarian relief in the Horn of Africa Leahy also expresses concern about material support law s impact on peacebuilding and urges dialog to develop new set of guidelines Sen Johnny Isakson R GA speaking at a Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on African Affairs 4 hearing on Aug 3 said I understand is important that the Obama administration and our country do everything they can to prohibit U S aid getting into terrorist hands and that is one of the reasons for some of the restrictions But when you do reach a crisis point in a humanitarian problem like this it seems like there ought to be expedited procedures or else the people you are trying to help are going to be dead Sen John Kerry D MA Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Sen Chris Coons D DE Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs issued a joint statement on Aug 8 5 urging the Obama administration to expand and expedite the delivery of humanitarian aid into Somalia We encourage the administration to consider additional ways to ease and expedite the provision of explore expanding the pool of those licensed to provide assistance in southern Somalia to include U S humanitarian groups funded by private donors or other countries Specifically it should While it is absolutely imperative to restrict the flow of resources to al Shabaab we must draw on all available resources as we balance security concerns with pressing humanitarian needs Right now it s more urgent than ever that those of us who believe in robust American leadership step up and articulate the dangers of American retrenchment Many question whether we can afford foreign aid and development investments but

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/626 (2016-02-16)
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  • State Dept. Announces New Policy to Allow Famine Aid in Somalia, Treasury Releases Limited Guidance
    is to be relaxed in a way that allows them to enter al Shabaab controlled territory for the purpose of delivering aid to the people there The Treasury licensing process is notoriously slow and aid groups have registered complaints about the arbitrary and prolonged process Sen Leahy s Letter to AG Holder and Sec State Clinton Concerns About Famine Relief Peacebuilding and the Material Support Law Aug 2011 5 U S Anti terror Law Hinders Aid Efforts to Somalia July 2011 6 Legal Roadblocks for U S Famine Relief to Somalia Creating Humanitarian Crisis Jan 2010 7 InterAction s Horn of Africa Crisis page 8 The Washington Post 9 quoted a senior official as saying concerns about diversion of aid to al Shabaab are legitimate and that charities need to be able to operate in a way the benefits go to the vulnerable citizens in the country and not to al Shabab Up until Aug 2 this meant that no transactions including negotiations for humanitarian access to famine victims were allowed Aid organizations had been calling for a new policy for weeks For example in a July 7 blog on the Huffington Post 10 website MercyCorps attorney Jeremy Konyndyk explained the extent of the disaster in Somalia and said There is a safety valve for situations like this a humanitarian exemption that the State Department could request from the Treasury Department But State and Treasury have shown little interest in going that route The International Rescue Committee 11 issued a July 29 call for the administration to Remove legal barriers to providing aid inside Somalia Private aid agencies have had to leave areas of Southern Somalia where al Shabaab an organization identified as a terrorist group is in control or risk violating U S anti terrorism provisions A waiver is needed for relief agencies to return to this drought stricken area The UN has exempted humanitarian agencies from sanctions against al Shabaab in line with this policy the Obama Administration should issue such a waiver immediately A blog on the Charity Security website 12 did the same The Post report said there was no major disagreement within the administration about providing the expanded licenses but that it took time to hammer out details to prevent as little aid being diverted or stolen by al Shabaab An aide to Secretary of State Clinton said she has tried to do everything possible to ensure that no one will be penalized for food shipments inadvertently falling into the hands of al Shabaab The threat of diversion of aid to al Shabaab or of them taking credit for aid coming in is dwarfed by the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Somalia and other Horn of Africa countries Professor Ken Menkhaus of Davidson College an expert on Somalia told the Post that al Shabaab gets most of its revenue from other sources and influential people in Somalia know where the aid is coming from He said I don t think it s going to

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/615 (2016-02-16)
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  • The President Must Address Life and Death Policy Matters in Somalia
    urgent aid The term is commonly used during a crisis like this but is not officially declared until acute malnutrition rates among children exceed 30 percent and more than two people per every 10 000 die per day The UN estimates 5 that in the two regions of southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle where al Shabab operates at least tens of thousands of Somalis the majority of them children have already died as a result of causes related to malnutrition What else is clear is that the humanitarian imperative of delivering food to millions of people in Southern Somalia will not be met if counterterrorism policy prevents assistance from reaching them Under U S law humanitarian groups risk prosecution for interacting with members of a designated terrorist group like al Shabab although such contacts are necessary to deliver aid to civilians trapped in territory they control Since the application of the laws in 2009 U S aid to Somalia has dropped 6 by 88 percent from 237 million in 2008 to 20 million in 2011 This includes the U S government s suspension of funding to the UN World Food Program in December 2009 7 when the UN estimated 3 2 million people were in need Good harvests in 2010 off set the immediate impact of the loss of food aid but by early 2011 the levels of malnutrition had spiked and increasingly numbers of families from Somalia began seeking refuge in Kenya 8 Avoiding aid diversion is important but the U S s overzealous approach led to a damaging collapse in U S humanitarian support to Somalia says Jeremy Konyndyk policy director with Mercy Corps What else is clear The effects of these laws do not just complicate logistical aid delivery operations during an emergency response but directly affect

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/614 (2016-02-16)
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  • U.S. Anti-terror Law Hinders Aid Efforts to Somalia
    because of worries about running afoul of a murky law against giving money to terrorists Under these laws distributing aid to at risk civilians living or trapped in regions where designated groups operate is barred if doing so is in any way coordinated with the designated group Learn more about these laws and what can be done to remedy them here 9 In order to deliver assistance to these areas Lindborg said we have developed a risk mitigation strategy to enable us to provide assistance to the Somali people with an emphasis on assuring our assistance reaches those most in need We have put into place basic risk mitigation procedures risk based assessments and special conditions for our grant agreements We continue to work to ensure our programs in Somalia are appropriately and accountably managed and monitored Despite these efforts to demonstrate proper due diligence about the assistance to people trapped in southern Somalia Treasury has refused to grant licenses The short sightedness of this approach was criticized by several speakers at the hearing David H Shinn 10 professor at George Washington University said while it is important to keep counterterrorism high on the priority list of U S concerns it should not overwhelm U S and international community actions that might make a stronger contribution to diminishing the influence of al Shabaab in the region More importantly a military only strategy does nothing to mitigate the root causes that led to the rise of and continue to generate support for al Shabaab and similar organizations Bronwyn Bruton 11 a Fellow at the One Earth Future Foundation said the desperate and unmet need for humanitarian relief threatens to overwhelm all other priorities in southern Somalia Without a dramatic increase in humanitarian aid tens of thousands of innocent men women and

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/608 (2016-02-16)
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