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  • U.S. Law Limits Options for Nonviolent End to Nigerian Girls Nightmare | Charity & Security Network
    blog in the Huffington Post U S Law Limits Options for Nonviolent End to Nigerian Girls Nightmare posted May 16 2014 Here is the conclusion The Obama administration and Congress should make it clear that dialog is needed to free the girls of Chibok It should actively discourage all parties from using the tragedy of the schoolgirls as a wedge for larger long term military presence in Nigeria And it should show its commitment to dialog by removing legal restrictions on engagement with Boko Haram that is aimed at nonviolent means of securing the girls release 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 Intended to Rein In Partner Vetting System January 21 2016 Over 100 Nonprofits Ask FATF to Revise Recommendation 8

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/node/1224 (2016-02-16)
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  • 2014: Year of the Big Picture | Charity & Security Network
    organizations to operate prompting an investigation and report by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and association in 2013 A side effect of the counterterrorism laws is the response of the banking sector to providing services to nonprofits that need to transfer funds internationally especially to places where terrorist groups are present Banks have closed nonprofit accounts for no apparent reason delayed fund transfers and imposed burdensome administrative measures This financial exclusion is having a negative impact on program operation and diverting resources away from program services So after that long litany of problems why do I say that there is opportunity for progress and reason for optimism There are two reasons First there is a fundamental and positive shift in the way key public officials experts and media view the issue of civil society and counterterrorism measures CTMs An overarching view is emerging that sees protecting civil society as both a strategic necessity and a human rights and humanitarian issue Increasingly government officials recognize that freedom of association expression and assembly are implicated in counterterrorism laws impacting civil society and understand that undue infringements on these rights are not in the best interests of security policy This emerging school of thought sees appropriate CTMs for civil society as proportionate to risk of harm and designed to ensure that legitimate organizations can continue operation This moves away from the Bush era framework of zero tolerance as reflected in current U S law While not all U S officials are won over to this view a growing number are embracing it President Obama s sponsorship of a UN event in September 2014 focused on the importance of protecting and promoting civil society is the best example of this He spoke on behalf of 24 countries that signed a Joint Statement on the Promotion and Protection of Civil Society criticized a growing number of countries that are passing laws designed specifically to stifle civil society forcing groups to register with governments eroding human rights protections restricting NGOs from accessing foreign funding cracking down on communications technologies He noted that human progress has always been propelled at some level by what happens in civil society citizens coming together to insist that a better life is possible pushing their leaders to protect the rights and the dignities of all people Another important indicator is the FATF s revision of a key document that 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 The second reason for optimism is the introduction of the Humanitarian Assistance Facilitation Act HAFA legislation that amends the material support and sanctions laws to permit peacebuilding and humanitarian aid to civilians This bipartisan bill would allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians much more quickly in areas controlled by blacklisted groups while still providing safeguards against diversion of aid to terrorists For

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/2014_Big_Picture (2016-02-16)
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  • Latest Blog Entries | Charity & Security Network
    Support Militarization of Aid Miscellaneous Solutions Partner Vetting System Leave blank for all Otherwise the first selected term will be the default instead of Any Our Fears Confirmed Andrea Hall Wednesday February 10 2016 Do Counterterrorism Grant Clauses Contradict Humanitarian Principles Andrea Hall Thursday December 17 2015 Show Me the Money Andrea Hall Friday December 4 2015 Is Treasury Starting to Pay Attention Andrea Hall Tuesday November 24 2015 Protect Civil Society to Counter Terrorism Andrea Hall Friday November 6 2015 Why Ask Treasury to Fix the De Risking Problem When They May Have Caused It Andrea Hall Thursday October 22 2015 When Talking Women Peace and Security Let s Talk U S Laws that Get in the Way Andrea Hall Monday August 24 2015 Congress Just Expanded Material Support Penalties What Were They Thinking Andrea Hall Thursday June 4 2015 UN Recommendations Fail to Mention Civil Society Space Andrea Hall Thursday June 4 2015 Geneva Call Agreement Illustrates What U S Civil Society Can t Do Andrea Hall Monday May 4 2015 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next last Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial Action Task Force FATF Financial Access Peacebuilding Countering Violent

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog?tid=All (2016-02-16)
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  • Addressing the Potential Impact of Legal Restrictions on Organizations Providing Humanitarian Assistance in Syria | Charity & Security Network
    material support to them Because the Syrian government has been listed as a sponsor of terrorism since 1979 and because the al Nusra Front a non state armed group fighting with the Syrian opposition was also listed as a terrorist organization in December 2012 these laws make accessing civilians in areas they control more complicated In September 2011 the Department of Treasury took positive steps that partially alleviate this problem by issuing General License II which allows NGOs to engage with the Syrian government to arrange for and operate programs 2 However no such license covers engagement with the al Nusra Front which was listed as a terrorist organization Since it is often difficult to distinguish the different factions of the opposition forces and some groups may be associated with al Nusra NGOs trying to reach civilians in opposition controlled areas can face difficult legal questions This is exacerbated by the lack of clarity on when NGOs must apply for a license and what degree of engagement with controlling powers is permissible Penalties for violating the sanctions and material support laws include significant fines and jail time which can have a chilling effect on NGOs attempting to reach civilians U S legal restrictions should not place obstacles in the way of NGOs operating in Syria which already face significant dangers in the operating environment All steps in the sequence of program operation from negotiating access to distribution of assistance to civilians should be permitted The fact that a listed terrorist group may receive an incidental or indirect benefit should not impair the entire process With over eight million Syrians in need of assistance humanitarian principles require nothing less Some Steps to Support Greater Access The U S government can take immediate steps to clarify that NGOs can engage in humanitarian

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Syria_Humanitarian_Access_Problems (2016-02-16)
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  • NSA Surveillance and its Civil Society Implications | Charity & Security Network
    essentially When Americans are on the other end of a call and their communications get swept up by these intercepts their rights are dismissed under the argument that the foreigner was the target the American was incidental Civil Society Implications Any American organization or individual that regularly communicates with people in other countries is highly susceptible to having their communications incidentally collected by the 702 program The work of international groups necessarily depends on a high degree of trust and cooperation with their foreign partners It is hard to do this if you cannot have the sensitive conversations in private We may see that foreign associates are less willing to share information or cooperate with civil society now that the scope of 702 program has been revealed Consider what kind of message the 702 program is sending to our foreign partners A local charity helping distribute aid in a conflict zone may be under threat of violence from militias or a repressive government If the content of their communications revealing logistical arrangements and the identity of people involved were to be revealed to the wrong person their safety and freedom could be endangered Similarly a nonprofit working to bring warring parties together to resolve their dispute needs to be able to guarantee the privacy of their communications The thought of the U S government listening in could be enough to derail a peace project We do not know the full scope of domestic foreign communications that are being collected under the 702 program but since foreign intelligence need only be a significant purpose of the surveillance this might cover virtually any information relevant to foreign relations If the U S government were engaged in such broad surveillance of domestic foreign communications this would seem to assume that these people are suspects first partners second In other words guilty until proven otherwise The government should be doing everything in its power to cultivate relationships between civil society and foreigners Surveillance programs can be counter productive in this respect Civil society advances some of our vital national interests like Track II diplomacy and humanitarian assistance but it cannot be effective if it is isolated internationally Political and religious organizations at home are also concerned about surveillance leading to a chilling effect The public willingness to engage with these groups is intimately connected with the First Amendment s freedom of association a freedom undermined by the metadata database The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently filed a lawsuit against the NSA on behalf of almost two dozen religious and political groups arguing that the collection of their metadata discloses the expressive political social personal private and intimate associational connections among individuals and groups which would ordinarily not be disclosed to the public or the government Our civil society affiliations need to remain private and free from scrutiny There is no point having freedom of association if the people exercising that right live in fear of individual exposure The privacy of associational details is critical it

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/NSA_Surveillance_and_Civil_Society_Implications (2016-02-16)
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  • From Perpetual War to Building Peace | Charity & Security Network
    military stakeholders with the expertise and resources to address the complex challenges we face This includes civil society the nonprofit world of philanthropy conflict resolution and peacebuilding humanitarian and development organizations human rights defenders and more These groups create human security addressing the root causes of conflict and insurgency and giving societies alternatives to extremism and terrorism They have the experience and flexibility to adjust to conditions on the ground and are guided by ethical principles based on the public common good not personal profit An example of this work is Track II Diplomacy which utilizes unofficial actors usually sponsored by nonprofit organizations to convene and set the stage for dialogue and negotiation to resolve conflict Instead of bringing high ranking official diplomats and leaders to the negotiating table Track II efforts focus on dialogue with influential private citizens former officials or officials acting off the record within a conflict area Track II diplomacy in very contentious conflicts and delicate negotiations such as the Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland or the Oslo Accords can be successful precisely because of its non governmental character It avoids political grandstanding prepares the ground for official talks and recognizes all parties to a conflict One reason nonprofits are so effective in Track II and programs that can address root causes of violent extremism is that they are not part of government That independence is key to effectiveness For conflict resolution programs it is crucial Only neutral mediators have the credibility to gain the trust of local actors and to effect sustainable and peaceful solutions to deadly violence But this piece of the big picture has been severely constrained by the war paradigm Counterterrorism laws act as a blunt instrument that prevents the pieces of the big picture from coming together These laws include the prohibition on material support of terrorism that bars peacebuilding organizations from engaging in Track II discussions with groups on the terrorist list The Supreme Court upheld the Constitutionality of the material support laws in the Humanitarian Law Project case in June 2010 Ironically this law takes away a key tool for making peace We do not make peace by talking with our friends but by talking with our enemies Governments may not be able to conduct these talks but nongovernmental peacebuilders have long had an important role in back channel conversations and dialogue If they are prohibited from talking through any channel what is the alternative More war seems to be the only likely outcome as time has shown that the sanctions that come with being put on the terrorist list have not made these groups wither away The ban on engagement for peacebuilding purposes should be lifted immediately so that armed groups on the list that have an interest in peace can be identified and encouraged to come to the negotiation table The nonprofit groups that do this work are experts We need them Fortunately the law provides a relatively easy way to unleash their skills It empowers

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Sec_Kerry_Let_Peacebuilders_Do_Their_Jobs (2016-02-16)
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  • The President’s Speech and Envisioning the Post-War World | Charity & Security Network
    and reshaped for a peace and post war paradigm Addressing these can unleash the positive forces that can contribute to the goal of addressing root causes of terrorism and having an effective long term comprehensive counterterrorism policy Terror like crime is likely to always be out there so our response to it must be one that is both effective and shapes the kind of world we want to live in We must look to the long term and take the consequences of our counterterrorism measures into account The time to start envisioning what the post GWOT world will look like is now Here are my takes on what the post war world should look like Start with peace negotiations and the background work that goes into making peace possible and successful The post war world will be one where violent extremists can be engaged by civil society including experts in peacebuilding religious leaders and former diplomats to try to find ways to air and resolve their grievances through non violent means No one will be subject to jail time for doing this work In the post war world all parties in areas of armed conflict including government non state armed groups and civil society will operate according to humanitarian principles Civilians will not be the targets of attack Prisoners of war will be treated according to the Geneva Conventions There will be no barriers to humanitarian assistance reaching people in need other than temporary measures needed for immediate security reasons Humanitarian organizations that operate according to the principles of neutrality independence and impartiality non discrimination will have the full protection of the law and no legal restrictions to operations as long as they adhere to these principles Sanctions programs that involve terrorist lists will provide any person or organization placed

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/President%E2%80%99s_Speech_Envisioning_the_Post-War_World (2016-02-16)
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  • Uncharitable (and Inaccurate) Accusations | Charity & Security Network
    on the U S Treasury Department s Specially Designated Global Terrorist list are charities as of 2012 In the U S only one charity has been convicted of financing terrorism and it was not even represented in court and presented no defense Therefore describing the sector as reemerging as sponsors of jihadi activity as Gartenstein Ross and Zelin do in their article seems out of touch with the facts The article also tries to establish a link between charities and well funded armed militias across North Africa but offers scant supporting evidence to back up this allegation For example the article claims Qatar Charity helped finance al Qaeda s affiliates in northern Mali late last year but only offers this unexplained sentence as evidence a 35 year old Moussa Touré returned to Gao where Qatar Charity paid him twice the salary that he made previously Perhaps if the authors had not been singly mindedly focused on assailing Islamic charities they would have known that terrorist groups like al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb AQIM have grown accustomed to ransom payments to finance their activities according to the New York Times Reports show that European countries have paid nearly 130 million in ransom payments over the past 10 years to armed groups across North Africa The real problem revealed by the bad actors described in the article is the humanitarian vacuum effect created when legitimate charities cannot access areas where listed terrorist groups are active because U S laws prohibit any sort of contact with them even in order to access civilians in need When this happens so called charities controlled by armed groups fill the vacuum And they do not provide aid solely based on need the way that humanitarian groups should but use it as a wedge to promote

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