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  • Send by email | Charity & Security Network
    case 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

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/printmail/1359 (2016-02-16)
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  • When Talking Women, Peace and Security, Let’s Talk U.S. Laws that Get in the Way
    want to improve their communities despite the threat of armed conflict Yet current U S law affects these organizations in the same way they impact all U S groups by preventing life saving work in terrorist controlled areas for fear of running afoul of the prohibition on the material support of terrorism and sanctions laws Official U S government policy 6 states a commitment to strengthen women s participation at all levels of government including identifying female partners around the world and supporting their activities The U S government takes the position that women should not be seen as just passive recipients of its programs However the opportunities that the U S purports to support with one hand are quickly snatched with the other hand According to a 2011 report by the NYU School of Law 7 there are countless examples of how terrorists undermine the rights of women and how the U S government s counterterrorism response fails to protect and can make things worse The U S government s significant cuts to humanitarian aid to Somalia prior to the 2011 famine for fear it would be diverted to al Shabaab for example wreaked havoc on the humanitarian crisis there with disproportionate impact on women and girls In addition to the laws that prevent legitimate peacebuilding and humanitarian projects in terrorist controlled areas there are terrorist financing laws that restrict donations to nonprofits The UN has stated 8 that these have had a big impact on women s rights organizations and have interfered with efforts by these groups to resolve conflicts support victims of terrorism advance the rule of law and human rights and realize equality political inclusion and socioeconomic empowerment The Special Rapporteur notes that this may curb efforts that would effectively counter conditions conducive to terrorism Enabling

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/1339 (2016-02-16)
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  • Geneva Call Agreement Illustrates What U.S. Civil Society Can’t Do
    individuals and organizations from providing material support to groups listed as designated terrorist organizations DTOs by the U S Treasury even when it is communications aimed at mitigating and ending armed conflicts One of the parties to the Geneva Call agreement the Free Life Party of Pakistan PJAK was placed on the DTO list 3 in 2009 where it remains today The U S Supreme Court s 2010 decision in Holder v Humanitarian Law Project 4 HLP upheld the law defining prohibited material support of terrorism to include conflict prevention and resolution activities aimed at getting terrorist groups to lay down their arms And with the material support statute s extraterritorial jurisdiction provision Geneva Call could be subject to prosecution which is why the group s president will not come to the U S Peacebuilding activities such as the ones resulting in this Deed of Commitment protecting children in armed conflict offer the most hope for countering violent extremism CVE by addressing its root causes teaching conflict resolution skills and building relationships However these efforts are stymied by overbroad one size fits all anti terrorism laws and policies At the same time government approaches to CVE have focused on its

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/1295 (2016-02-16)
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  • Huffington Post: U.S. State Dept. Official's Speech May Fuel Global Civil Society Crackdown | Charity & Security Network
    financing terrorism and violent extremism is charity the vast network of charitable organizations thrives across South Asia and we must fight back against it What is this alleged vast network he is talking about It sounds like a talking point but is not a fact In contrast to these statements key global leaders from President Obama to the UN Security Council have acknowledged the important role nonprofit organizations play in countering violent extremism For example President Obama s 2014 Memorandum says by giving people peaceful avenues to advance their interests and express their convictions a free and flourishing civil society contributes to stability and helps to counter violent extremism It notes that regulation of the nonprofit sector to prevent abuse by illicit actors should be proportionate and targeted In 2009 the Working Group on Tackling the Financing of Terrorism of the United Nations Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force recommended that States should avoid rhetoric that ties NPOs to terrorism financing in general terms because it overstates the threat and unduly damages the NPO sector as a whole The Financial Action Task Force FATF calls for Respect for the Legitimate Activities of NGOs in its guidance for state implementation of nonprofit anti terrorist finance regulations and goes on to describe charities as a vital component of the world economy that can play an important role in preventing the causes of radical ideology from taking root and are therefore potential allies in the fight against terrorism Brownfield should have been aware of these statements and policies before going to speak at an event focused on charities The new Bangladesh law is not unique or sudden It was first introduced in June 2014 The I nternational Center for Not for Profit Law reported the draft version of the act in 2012 The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders issued a statement urging the Bangladesh government to scrap it The law fits into a growing global trend of restrictions on nonprofit access to foreign donations onerous registration requirements and government control over operational decisions Such laws have been widely criticized Human rights defenders and political opposition appear to be the primary target of such laws Maina Kiai the UN Special Rapporteur on freedoms of peaceful assembly and of association cited examples of restrictions on foreign funding in Algeria Egypt Ethiopia and Russia in a 2013 report He said counterterrorism laws are one of the most common measures used by government to limit access to funding While states do have an interest in protecting public safety Kiai argues that The onus is on the Government to prove that restricting the rights of a civil society organization will promote security Human Rights Watch Asia director Brad Adams notes that in Bangladesh The government has not shown any serious terror threat arising from many NGOs or why the existing criminal law is insufficient to deal with any problems that may arise This is just a smoke screen to exert political control over civil society President

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/State_Speech_Could_Fuel_Restrictions (2016-02-16)
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  • Looks like the new war in Syria gives Matt Levitt a chance to revisit his old (mistaken) talking points about charities | Charity & Security Network
    air strikes in Syria targeted ISIS controlled oil refineries in a deliberate attempt to disrupt their principal revenue stream Before the strikes experts estimated that the refineries produced close to 25 000 to 40 000 barrels of oil a day fetching millions on the black market in Turkey among other places Ransom payments from European countries are another big source that Levitt conveniently neglects In April a German magazine reported that France had paid 18 million for the release of four French hostages being held by ISIS The group has also moved away from international donors Learning from other armed groups in the region and from their own experiences in Iraq before formally breaking from al Qaeda in 2013 ISIS has almost weaned itself off private funds from sympathetic individual donors in the Gulf according to NBC news Even as far back as 2008 analysts reported that ISIS and its predecessors were shifting away from international Gulf donors and moving toward developing their own sources of money to finance their operations According to a report from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point CTC the Islamic State of Iraq relied on three sources of funding transfers from other leaders in al Qaeda in Iraq money foreign suicide bombers brought with them and fundraising from local Iraqis These findings are underscored by a senior State Department official who said in June that money from foreign donors pales in comparison to their self funding The anonymous official added They are merciless in shaking down local busi nesses for cash Over a decade after the attacks of 9 11 charities at home and abroad continue to be unfairly maligned as sponsors of terror Even as studies have demonstrated that charitable activity addresses the root causes of violent extremism charities are often subject to

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Levitt_Mistaken_Charities_ISIS_Funding (2016-02-16)
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  • Constitutional Principles and the Charity & Security Network | Charity & Security Network
    of Association First Amendment Freedom of Speech and Expression Fourth Amendment Freedom from Unreasonable Search and Seizure Fifth Amendment Guarantee of Due Process Fourteenth Amendment Guarantee of Equal Protection Under the law First Amendment Freedom of Association Infringement on the right of people not only to assemble and participate in civil society organizations but to function and carry out their mission effectively as well Example The overbroad application of the prohibition on material support of terrorism criminalizes operations that involve association with groups or individuals on the terrorist list even when the association is for the purpose of providing humanitarian aid or mediating an end to conflict For a full analysis see the report Safeguarding Humanitarianism in Armed Conflict First Amendment Freedom of Speech and Expression Organizations that engage in dissent human rights advocacy or function as government watchdogs face increasing regulation and surveillance inhibiting their ability to fully exercise the right of collective free speech The Supreme Court s ruling the Humanitarian Law Project case allowed Congress to prohibit peacebuilding nonprofits from training members of listed organizations to use peaceful tactics to achieve their political aims Congress has failed to pass legislation that would permit these conflict resolution activities and the administration has not responded to requests for exemptions for responsible organizations Example International organizations that support human rights defenders are increasingly subject to excessive disclosure and reporting requirements The most extreme example is USAID s Partner Vetting System which requires personal identifying information on organization s leadership and key partners to be submitted to the U S for vetting by security agencies In addition the Humanitarian Law Project decision continues to chill the activities of peacebuilding organizations Fourth Amendment Freedom from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures Anti terrorist financing sanctions have been used to summarily shut down charities freezing funds and seizing all files and assets Some Muslim charities have had files seized without any warrant or process and have never been placed on any list or charged with any crime One even had to pay copying charges to get its information returned Two federal courts have now ruled this process violates the Fourth Amendment but Treasury has so far refused to change its procedures Example On September 23 2011 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules that procedures used by the Treasury Department to freeze the assets of the Al Haramain Islamic Foundation of Oregon in 2004 were unconstitutional The court said that freezing the group s assets amounts to a seizure under the Fourth Amendment so that Treasury should have obtained a court order Fifth Amendment Guarantee of Due Process The procedures used to place U S charities on the terrorist list lacks the fundamental elements of due process notice meaningful opportunity to respond and independent review In case of KindHearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development the court ruled that the lack of due process in Treasury s terrorist listing procedure meant KindHearts is not only blindfolded but also has its hands tied behind its back Criminal proceedings

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Constitution_Day_and_Nonprofit_Rights (2016-02-16)
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  • Counterterror Pressure on Banks Threatens Humanitarian Aid Flows | Charity & Security Network
    percent of foreign capital flows to Somalia more than foreign aid and investment combined reaching 1 2 1 3 billion a year MSBs rely on banks to facilitate international transfers but banks have started closing these accounts threatening the flow of funds the so many depend on for their daily existence Right now only Merchants Bank of California is providing services for remittances to Somalia and it has indicated it will close this service at the end of September Why is this happening Regulatory Pressures and Threat of Prosecution It is increasingly clear that banks are responding to pressure from anti terrorist financing and anti money laundering agencies and Dept of Justice prosecutors that have pushed the financial sector into a quasi regulatory role A July 6 2014 article in the New York Times notes that banks are being held accountable not only for the customers who directly use their money transfer services but also for their role in collecting remittances the government s efforts to root out illicit activity have effectively put the banks into a law enforcement role industry experts say It notes the high costs this imposes on banks who must invest in software to screen transactions and manually investigate many suspicious activities and report them to regulators In the end it may be nearly impossible to fully monitor money flowing through some parts of the world Numerous media reports this year have cited increased regulatory scrutiny on banks as the reason for diminishing access to financial services for humanitarian money transfers Foreign Policy s The Cable noted that heavy fines against ISBC and BNP Paradis have contributed to the de risking trend It notes that Somalia is a particular challenge because of the combined effect of al Shabaab a listed terrorist group and the lack of a banking system The problem is global and involves banks in the U S UK and elsewhere At a July event in the UK the African Research Institute a panel of humanitarian experts said that the challenges humanitarians face in Somalia include anti terrorism legislation and is impact on in particular the remittance industry A Lose Lose Lose Proposition The combination of regulatory pressure humanitarian need and lack of government policy to protect financial services for charities and diaspora populations is a loser on all fronts For banks serving customers like charities and MSBs that operate in global hot spots brings extra cost and risk of draconian government action with no incentive or protection for doing the right thing by keeping these accounts For charities diaspora and MSBs it creates operational barriers to what is often life saving assistance that may be insurmountable And for government anti terrorist financing agencies it creates a substantial probability that charities and diaspora communities will be forced to use unregulated non transparent means of moving funds undercutting anti terrorist financing goals What is the Solution Better Policy The financial access service problems cited here are not going to be solved until governments including the

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Counterterror_Pressure_Banks_Humanitarian_Aid (2016-02-16)
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  • Four Years Later: The Humanitarian Law Project Decision Continues to Limit Options for Ending Conflict | Charity & Security Network
    subject to sanctions under this Act to prevent or alleviate the suffering of a civilian population including speech or communication to reduce or eliminate the frequency and severity of violent conflict and reducing its impact on the civilian population Since Congress appears to be unable to consider anything but must pass legislation like the budget bill it would make sense for the Secretary of State to use existing law to exempt this kind of speech from the prohibition The experts have supported such a move in letters to former Secretary of State Clinton in 2011 and to Secretary of State Kerry in 2013 So far no action has been taken Instead administration officials seek to assure peacebuilding groups that they should not worry because no peacebuilder has been prosecuted for engagement with a listed terrorist group This status quo has essentially created a don t ask don t tell policy which leaves the door open to selective prosecution and fails to recognize that responsible nonprofits do not break the law and risk being shut down The impact of the decision has been that many U S peacebuilding groups have had to withdraw or decline to participate in important projects that might have reduced armed conflict This negative impact is multiplied by the fact that the law applies outside the U S so that anyone in a foreign peace group that engages a group on the terrorist list could be arrested if they come to the U S That has not deterred many highly respected and effective non U S groups from continuing their work A look at what they do provides a glimpse of what kinds of opportunities are being lost by banning American groups from using their resources and expertise to do similar work For example Geneva Call based in Switzerland works with armed non state actors ANSAs to train them on human rights and humanitarian law Its process works to get ANSAs to sign Deeds of Commitment to comply with these standards by rejecting use of landmines gender violence and recruitment of child soldiers It trains in standards of international humanitarian law focusing on protection of civilians Its recently published annual report noted that in 2013 it engaged 48 ANSAs in 16 countries and territories added five new signatures to Deeds of Commitment and nine new ANSAs taking measures in that direction Some of these groups are on the U S terrorist list The Berghof Foundation in Germany works with non state armed groups because it believes that no sustained transformation is possible without their inclusion It sponsors dialog mediation and peace support structures It provides training and has published important research on what works and what does not Conciliation Resources in London supports people at the heart of conflicts working with them to deepen collective understanding of the conflict bring together divided communities and create opportunities for them to resolve their differences peacefully The success of these organizations is something U S leaders need to consider Compared

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/4_Years_HLP_Decision (2016-02-16)
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