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  • STUDY: Talking to the Other Side- Humanitarian negotiations with Al-Shabaab in Somalia | Charity & Security Network
    arise The researchers conducted more than 80 interviews of former Al Shabaab officials civilians and aid workers The results are presented against a historical backdrop of long running strife in a country whose location has drawn the interest and involvement of Western powers from the Cold War to today The long history of aid diversion and corruption is noted making it clear that the problems with diversion of aid during the 2011 famine did not begin with and were not unique to Al Shabaab It notes that T he political objectives of donor governments increasingly constrained the delivery of aid and worked against the efforts of agencies to appear impartial neutral and independent The interviews with Al Shabaab officials demonstrated that aid organizations were seen as potential and some cases actual fronts for Western intelligence services There was a widespread perception that food aid in particular was aimed at making Somalis dependent on the West Bans on aid agencies were justified on the grounds that they were engaged in espionage Military pressure exacerbated these suspicions the degree of military threat facing Al Shabaab appeared to correlate to the extent of access Al Shabaab was willing to grant The report identifies both Al Shabaab imposed restrictions and counterterrorism measures and policies of donor governments as impediments to aiding civilians Al Shabaab restrictions Al Shabaab had a highly structured system of regulation taxation and surveillance of aid agencies This included a Humanitarian Coordination Office that was in charge of access policy However often negotiations occurred at the local level and results varied from place to place Al Shabaab required aid agencies to pay to register and fees ran from 500 to 10 000 depending on the size and type of organization The group also required reporting on activities and names of staff along with pledges not to proselytize or publicly criticize Al Shabaab In some cases the group took over aid delivery and favored their own supporters The consequences of breaking the rules were extreme expulsion additional taxation and attacks on aid workers Restrictions and requirements from donor governments Fear that aid would benefit terrorists generated donor government constraints on aid agencies as well as drastic reductions in funding from some including the U S These restrictions are described as bureaucratic and became acutely problematic Examples included pre vetting finance checks real time monitoring a bond system that required at 30 deposit on the value of goods transported and a contract provision that imposed 100 liability for shipments lost or stolen There was and remains a lack of clarity within the donor agencies about what the regulations meant and how aid agencies were expected to comply with them Consequences of breaking the rules were extreme The report concludes that Despite pervasive attempts to divert or co opt aid aid agencies did not simply give into Al Shabaab s demands It explains how aid groups that had a longstanding presence and pursued structured engagement at all levels with Al Shabaab were most likely

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/studies/Somalia_Talking_with_the_Other_Side (2016-02-16)
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  • Report: Protect Humanitarian Space in Somalia | Charity & Security Network
    report the concept of humanitarian space involves agency operational access protection and assistance to meet the needs of civilians caught in harm s way This space however is constantly under attack due to overly broad and burdensome counterterrorism measures that do not respect the principles and obligations found in international humanitarian law In Somalia the reduction in operating space for international aid groups created by political and security barriers has directly contributed to the massive food crisis For example at least 50 million worth of American aid to Somalia was delayed in part because of State Department concerns about facing prosecution from Treasury for inadvertent capture or use of aid by al Shabaab U S law prohibits transactions with formally listed terrorist organizations even if its incidental or for the purpose of accessing civilians in need Click here for more about the Legal Roadblocks to Aid Delivery in Somalia And while there has been some easing of restrictions by the U S Treasury refuses to issue a general license permitting all U S NGOs to offer relief to Somalis in need The shrinking space for humanitarians working in Somalia has been well documented but less attention has been paid to the protection of civilians This is largely attributed to the desire among humanitarian groups especially the few remaining in areas under al Shabaab control not to draw unwanted attention toward their assistance activities In fact some humanitarian agencies have begun exploring quiet ways to engage on issues of civilian protection But the fear of politicization or of retribution from parties to the conflict according to the report prevents a coherent and active response by the sector This report argues that while it may not be possible to fully disentangle humanitarian and political interests in the current Somali conflict humanitarian space

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/studies/Protect_Humanitarian_Space_Somalia (2016-02-16)
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  • Paper: IHL and IHRL Work Together to Protect Rights of Civilians | Charity & Security Network
    and IHL were initially treated as two distinct bodies of law applicable in different situations But Interactions between International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law for the protection of Economic Social and Cultural Rights says human rights advocates need not rely on only one legal framework to protect the rights of civilians in trapped in harm s way There is no going back to a complete separation of the two the paper says as both IHL and IHRL constantly interact in a relation of synergy or norms These norms play a key role in how the legal provisions are understood and applied during armed conflict Examples of these implications include protecting socioeconomic rights of civilians such as education health food and property housing especially when war and occupation strike across the fabric of life of the entire population REEI is published by the Spanish Association of Professors of International Law and International Relations 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

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/studies/IHL_and_IHRL_Work_Together_Protect_Rights_Civilians (2016-02-16)
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  • ODI: Negotiating Humanitarian Access | Charity & Security Network
    to establish effective humanitarian responses to conflict related needs has become increasingly important in many of today s conflicts Yet dialogue between humanitarian groups and ANSAs is often barred by counterterrorism laws with detrimental consequences for aid workers and those in need of their assistance Counter terror legislation and donor funding restrictions have discouraged if not criminalized engagement says the report by the Humanitarian Policy group at ODI This has undermined the perceived impartiality independence and effectiveness of humanitarian response Even so in places like South Kordofan in Sudan and al Shabaab controlled parts of Somalia humanitarian actors negotiate with ANSAs with varying degrees of sustainability and success The report says more work must be done to understand the role that the UN donors and other actors can play in providing political leadership and support for effective engagement Greater study is required in order to understand how humanitarian actors are engaging with ANSAs at different levels in different places at different times and for different purposes The report is based on an extensive literature review and interviews undertaken as part of a two year project on humanitarian engagement with ANSAs Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial Action Task Force FATF

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/studies/ODI_Negotiating_Access (2016-02-16)
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  • Report from UK-based ODI: Humanitarian Action Harmed by Anti-Terror Laws | Charity & Security Network
    of food to civilians living in regions controlled by such groups nearly impossible The report finds U S legislation has had the most impact on humanitarian operations in particular the sanctions regime implemented by the Department of Treasury s Office of Foreign Assets Control OFAC and the material support statute While there has been only a small number of prosecutions of humanitarian actors for material support offences said the report the threat of criminal sanction will continue to undermine humanitarian operations at least until there is a greater clarity on the interpretation and application of the laws to humanitarian operations In places like Somalia where armed conflict and famine have left millions of people in need of life saving support the report found U S CTMs were responsible for a 50 percent drop in humanitarian funding between 2008 and 2011 For the aid groups that remain in Somalia many report the pre vetting checks and other risk management procedures required by OFAC regulations significantly delay their response time and increase the risk to aid workers by making them appear to aligned with one side in the conflict The intrusive vetting of partners and beneficiaries is not exclusive to Somalia The United States Agency for International Development USAID wants to implement similar vetting procedures called the Partner Vetting System PVS for all of its grantees PVS has been widely criticized by the U S NGO sector because it is costly ineffective and undermines the relations between humanitarian organizations and local communities USAID partner vetting requirements envisage collecting and reporting personal information about partner and contractor staff to the US government a requirement that is invariably seen as invasive and accusatory by locals the report says These measures undermine the neutrality of humanitarian organizations because U S funded organizations that comply with

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/node/661 (2016-02-16)
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  • Inaction and Delayed Response to Famine Cost Thousands of Lives | Charity & Security Network
    by managing the risks not the crisis This means orchestrating meaningful action partly based on information learned through early warning systems and tackling the root causes of vulnerability through long term development strategies Recommendations include 1 Manage the risks not the crisis All actors need to review their approach to drought risk reduction and not wait for certainty before responding All actors and early warning specialists need to develop a common approach to triggers for early action to be used by both humanitarian and development actors 2 Earlier drought response National governments should recognize their primary responsibility to meet food security needs providing political leadership for a drought response The international aid community should undertake preventative humanitarian work and assisting communities to prevent mitigate prepare and respond to crises ensure that systems are in place to integrate risk management into work throughout the development and humanitarian cycle through investing significantly in people and partner organizations and reviewing organizational structures and systems Donors should provide more agile and flexible funding and by ensuring that humanitarian funding can support pre emptive or early response Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial Action Task Force FATF Financial Access Peacebuilding Countering Violent Extremism Click Here

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/studies/Delayed_Response_Famine_Cost (2016-02-16)
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  • UN Report: Security Measures that Restrict Humanitarian Access Hurt Vulnerable Civilians | Charity & Security Network
    humanitarian operations says a February 2011 report from the United Nation s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs The report available here calls on governments to amend legislation and policies which undermine humanitarian engagement with all parties to the conflict including non state armed groups essential to access all affected populations To Stay and Deliver Good Practices for Humanitarians in Complex Security Environments finds barriers to humanitarian action such as the ban on contact with entities designated as terrorist have severely undermined opportunities for humanitarian actors to negotiate access for aid to civilians It recommends existing policies which seek to restrict such engagement should be reconsidered and brought in compliance with international humanitarian law 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 Than 50 Orgs in Raising Concerns About UN s Work on Preventing Violent Extremism February 8 2016 New Budget Language

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/studies/UN_Report_Stay_deliver (2016-02-16)
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  • Report: Friend Not Foe Documents Negative Impacts of Counterterrorism Measures, Calls on Civil Society to Defend Its Positive Role | Charity & Security Network
    work is urgently needed but a designated group may operate This chilling effect is also felt by foundations charities and donors in the restrictions on international financial transactions The report finds that development agencies are increasingly choosing to fund a limited number of centralized large scale organizations for fear of having their charitable donations stigmatized as financing terrorism Some donors the report says have become risk averse and reluctant to fund initiatives that address controversial issues or challenge inequalities The new rules have left vulnerable populations underserved According to the report some CTMS turn philanthropists into spies For instance the Treasury Department s Anti Terrorist Financing Guidelines is an inappropriate one size fits all approach to charity regulation that urges charities to collect personal information about their grantees and to report suspicious information to law enforcement Leaders from the nonprofit sector have described the Guidelines as useless and embarrassing damaging trust with the very groups that could make a difference in addressing conditions that lead to terrorism Another program the Partner Vetting System PVS would require allUnited States Agency for International Development USAID grant applicants to submit detailed personal information on key individuals within partner organizations and share information with intelligence agencies PVS has yet to fully implemented but if invoked PVS would impose new data collection obligations on charities and divert staff and funding from grant making It would compromise the independence of nonprofits operating in conflict zones and further endanger aid workers and their local partners To ensure accountability of resources and finances civil society groups and development NGOs have adopted a number of voluntary codes for greater due diligence and transparency The report mentions three of them InterAction s Private Voluntary Organization standards Principles of International Charity developed specifically to address the threat of diversion of resources for terrorism by a working group of grantmakers NGOs civil society organizations and legal experts An accreditation program developed and operated by Muslim Advocates Featuring four case studies Colombia Kenya Indian and the Philippines the report provides examples of legislative and regulatory measures that curtail universally recognized human rights including fundamental freedoms of expression association and assembly and that restrict the funding and operational space of charities These constraints have been used to crack down on NGOs and activists who criticize government policies and deny access to vulnerable populations who may live or be trapped in places controlled by a designated terrorist organization An example of this occurred in Somalia where aid groups providing food to nearly one million at risk of starvation Somalis had to cease operations over concerns that some of the food might be diverted to the al Shabab which is on the list of terrorist organizations In countries like the Philippines and Uganda civil society groups attempting to overcome conflict and political injustices face intense pressures from both armed rebels and the government In Colombia civil society groups promoting peace have been accused by the government of supporting terrorism and have been arrested kidnapped or killed

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Friend_Not_Foe_Report_May_2011 (2016-02-16)
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