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  • State Dept. Announces New Policy to Allow Famine Aid in Somalia, Treasury Releases Limited Guidance | Charity & Security Network
    out it is clear that the blanket ban imposed by the material support law is not being lifted Instead the process for aid groups to get licenses from Treasury 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 U S Anti terror Law Hinders Aid Efforts to Somalia July 2011 Legal Roadblocks for U S Famine Relief to Somalia Creating Humanitarian Crisis Jan 2010 InterAction s Horn of Africa Crisis page The Washington Post 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 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 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 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

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/State_Announces_New_Policy_Allow_Famine_Aid_Somalia (2016-02-16)
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  • The President Must Address Life and Death Policy Matters in Somalia | Charity & Security Network
    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 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 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 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 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 the lives of millions of people President Ronald Reagan let food aid

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/President_Must_Address_Life_and_Death_Policy_Matters_Somalia%20 (2016-02-16)
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  • U.S. Anti-terror Law Hinders Aid Efforts to Somalia | Charity & Security Network
    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 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 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 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 children living in

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/US_law_hinders_aid_efforts_Somalia (2016-02-16)
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  • Index Gauges Quality of Humanitarian Assistance of Relief and Recovery Efforts | Charity & Security Network
    prohibition make it extremely difficult for aid agencies to meet the needs of at risk civilians For the 2010 HRI several countries in crisis were examined to guage the quality of assistance In Somalia the report found only 44 percent of those at risk for starvation received food assistance in the second half of 2009 Some of this was due to U S restrictions on funding operations in al Shabab controlled areas and an overall cut in US humanitarian funds for Somalia The report also found The humanitarian response is generally insufficient ineffective in most sectors often provided too late based on inaccurate data and not provided uniformly and impartially to vulnerable populations There is a need to clarify whether UN Security Council resolutions targeting terrorism are as the US argues applicable to humanitarian aid 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 Joins More

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/studies/HRI_2010_DARA (2016-02-16)
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  • Now is a Good Time for a Good Faith Standard | Charity & Security Network
    incidental benefits to al Shabab The exchange pointed out the dilemma current national security laws create for humanitarian aid whether from government or private philanthropic and development agencies Treasury is right to take good faith into account in situations where aid is critically needed to save lives but delivery complicated Completely avoiding a listed terrorist group that controls territory may be impossible in some situations such as Somalia If a good faith standard has evolved it should be applied to nonprofits as well But it is not In the past and there has been no announced change Treasury has imposed a strict liability standard on charities that ignores good faith due diligence and humanitarian concerns Instead in 2007 Treasury officials told Congress under their dual purpose theory if any aspect of an organization is engaged in terrorist support then there is a problem with the entire charitable organization No provision for accidental or incidental benefits is made Treasury s Chip Poncy said this method raises operational issues as to whether or not Treasury can look at minimizing collateral damage To date however Treasury has taken no action to address the collateral damage problem The evolution of a good faith standard is a good first step toward addressing the problem There are multiple ways good faith of charitable programs can be established For example following Internal Revenue Service rules on international grantmaking conducting site visits and audits of programs and taking reasonable steps to avoid exploitation and abuse by a listed terrorist group all demonstrate good faith What is sensible and fair for State Department employees and grantees is also sensible and fair for charities Treasury should engage in dialog with nonprofit sector organizations to discuss the best way to define and implement a good faith standard for them This would

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Now_Good_Time_Good_Faith_Standard (2016-02-16)
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  • The Impact of Counterterrorism Measures on Charities and Donors After 9/11 | Charity & Security Network
    humanitarian aid overseas was the target of a U S Attorney s office grand jury investigation in Nov 2004 KinderUSA cooperated with the grand jury s requests and no charges against the charity were made However media reports that linked the investigation to terrorism substantially disrupted its operations Donations dropped from 1 6 million in 2004 to 250 000 in 2005 According to KinderUSA s executive director Dalell Mohmed A lot of our donors are frightened We lost a lot of donors Now some people who used to donate to us will come and apologize to me and say you have to understand They are just afraid period ACLU p 64 xv United States In 2004 after IARA was labeled as a terrorist group by the U S its office in Missouri was raided and all files and equipment seized The Federal Bureau of Investigations FBI used confiscated financial documents to identify and question IARA s donors about their contributions Meyers xvi United States According to one Muslim American charity s director at least 30 Muslim donors to the charity reported to him that the FBI had approached them at their workplaces and homes for voluntary interviews in 2007 about their charitable donations ACLU p 70 xvii Global Treasury s Anti Terrorist Financing Guidelines Guidelines make funders hesitant to support overseas grantees Nearly three fifths of grantmakers in a 2008 survey agreed that the more demanding post 9 11 regulatory environment discourages giving to non U S based organizations xviii After suspending funding for a Caribbean aid program one grantmaker said i f these guidelines become the de facto standard of best practices for giving abroad we might very well have to stop making grants outside the United States xix ISLAMIC CHARITIES United States After the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004 the U S government agency USA Freedom Corps recommended 250 charities for U S citizens to donate to including many faith based organizations Not a single Islamic charity was included in the list Nor did any Muslim organizations receive a prime United States Agency for International Development USAID award for relief work in Indonesia Benthall p 40 iii Chad Before 9 11 the 18 Islamic Nongovernmental Organizations NGOs operating in Chad were mostly funded by benefactors from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states After U S pressure to impose new restrictions on international money transfers from Saudi Arabia only five charities remained as of March 2006 In contrast almost 300 Western NGOs including missionary organizations remain active Benthall p 9 United States Seven American Islamic charities have been shut down iv with at least 7 million in charitable assets seized by the U S Department of Treasury Treasury remaining unavailable for humanitarian purposes Based on data from the United Nations Children s Fund UNICEF v 7 million would pay for almost 12 million childre n to receive basic health supplies or provide something nutritional to eat to nearly 26 million malnourished children BANKING United States After a Sept

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/background/The_Impact_of_Counterterrorism_Measures_on_Charities_and_Donors_After_9/11 (2016-02-16)
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  • Brookings Event Focuses on Barriers to Access During Humanitarian Crisis | Charity & Security Network
    develop practical instruments to improve humanitarian access and ii the recognition that there is a lack of clarity regarding the existing legal obligations related to the criteria for denial or constraint on humanitarian actors The latter conclusion convinced the Swiss government to launch an initiative in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross ICRC the Red Cross and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs OCHA The initiative aims to develop a handbook on humanitarian access and a field manual on humanitarian access Another example is Switzerland s concrete proposals including those relevant to Gaza in 2007 Ambassador Wild concluded his speech by discussing the importance of bilateral dialogues with difficult partners including non state armed actors The ambassador stressed that these actors must know and understand the humanitarian norms and that all should have humanitarian access regardless of who is in charge Martin de Boer of the ICRC Next to speak was Martin de Boer with the ICRC Mr de Boer began his speech by discussing some of the obstacles currently faced First regional access to relief areas is often made difficult by the regional control of militant or hostile groups Second some states and non state actors question international humanitarian principles and humanitarian actors According to Mr de Boer this rejection of humanitarian principles is a by product of correlating humanitarian aid to political and military objectives De Boer went on to discuss the ICRC s response to such obstacles Among them is negotiation on local or social norms often centralized around issues of reciprocity Additionally the ICRC believes that neutrality and independence builds trust neutrality is here defined as not taking sides and does not necessarily mean equal treatment as support systems might be different Additional points that Mr de Boer went on to emphasize confidentiality the importance of building relationships as the ICRC is mandated to speak with all armed actors matching words with deeds and the decentralization of humanitarian movement Humanitarian organizations must be self critical and debate the consequence of their actions before they proceed Buti Kali Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees The next presenter was Buti Kale of the Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees UNHCR Mr Kale began by endorsing much of what had previously been said He went on to identify some impeding factors including the vulnerability of the population as they are completely dependent on whatever institutions they have access to Mr Kale identified three barriers to access First issues of safety and security often make it difficult for humanitarian access The safety concerns vary situationally For example The Republic of Côte d Ivoire has historically been plagued by highway robbers threatening humanitarian aid workers Often humanitarian personnel are forced to resort to military escorts The two other barriers identified by Mr Kale were the presence of civilians in remote and inaccessible locations and perceptions of partisanship rendering aid unwelcome in a politicized environment Mr Kale concluded his

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Brookings_Event_Barriers_Access_Humanitarian_Crisis (2016-02-16)
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  • 2011 Sphere Handbook Offers Expanded Operating Standards for Humanitarian Responders | Charity & Security Network
    from violence degrading treatment or the deliberate spread of fear Providing assistance to people who wish to claim their rights access available remedies and recover from the effects of abuse The Handbook includes a series of Core and Minimum Standards for humanitarian action that are based on best practices from the assistance sector During all stages of the assistance process from initial planning stages to the assessment of the aid delivery Core Standards outline the essential measures to meet the humanitarian objectives and reduce future risk and vulnerability enhance capacity and promote early recovery Key actions key indicators and guidance notes on each standard provide guidance on it can be met The six Core Standards are Creation of a people centered humanitarian response with input from affected population Coordination and collaboration with agencies and governmental authorities engaged in impartial humanitarian action Assessment to under stand the nature of the disaster identify who has been affected and how and assess people s vulnerability and capacities Design and respond based on an impartial assessment of needs Examine the effective ness quality and appropriateness of response Assessing overall aid worker performance According to the Handbook these standards are considered fundamental to the rights of people affected by conflict or disaster to assistance that supports life with dignity Additional Minimum Standards in the 2011 edition deal with four sets of life saving areas water and sanitation food security shelter and health services People in disasters have basic needs like food and water but aid work is not as simple as service delivery said Marie Staunton chief executive of Plan UK Humanitarian workers also have a wider responsibility for the human rights of the people they are meant to be helping such as their right to freedom of movement and their right to a healthy

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/2011_Sphere_Handbook (2016-02-16)
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