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  • Treasury Should Heed Call to Re-write Rules for Shutting Down Charities | Charity & Security Network
    practical matter the charity cannot submit rebuttal evidence Its funds are frozen indefinitely with no process for them to ever be put to charitable use Our letter suggested new regulations that would do the following Provide organizations with adequate notice of the reasons for the listing and freezing their assets and a meaningful opportunity to contest the Treasury department s decision Conform to the Fourth Amendment s requirement that a seizure of a charities funds requires judicial authorization based upon probable cause Take steps to mitigate the unfairness that can result when the government relies on classified information This can be done by allowing an attorney with security clearance to view the evidence or providing the charity with an unclassified summary Ensure that organizations can use frozen funds to pay attorney s fees Writing new regulations would be good for all concerned including Treasury As our letter pointed out such a change would have enormous benefits for both the U S government and the charitable sector It would give the Treasury process credibility it currently lacks due to the many constitutional deficiencies identified by the court in both cases It would assure charities that the legal black hole KindHearts fell into has been eliminated and replaced by a process they can have confidence in It ensures that the ultimate beneficiaries of charitable funds the people in need around the world do not do without badly needed services because funds are frozen Improved due process would also be consistent with the growing international consensus that terrorist listing processes must be fair The United Nations established an Ombudsperson program in 2009 to improve their process This is one of the models the U S should consider for its own listing process While it is rare for Treasury to shut down a U

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Treasury_Should_Heed_Call_Re-write_Rules_for_Shutting_Down_Charities (2016-02-16)
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  • If All You Have is a Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail | Charity & Security Network
    Nigerian government Several high ranking Nigerian officials including the Nigerian Ambassador to the U S met with White House officials in mid May and reportedly voiced their opposition to imposing a FTO label Nigerian Defense Minister Bello Halliru Mohammed said We are looking at a dialogue to establish the grievances of the Boko Haram I think the attempt to declare them an international terrorist organization will not be helpful Not Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson Speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in March he emphasized that Boko Haram is a loosely organized group focused on discrediting the Nigerian government rather than religious extremism Not independent experts Elizabeth Donnelly the Africa Program Manager at Chatham House wrote on the International Relations and Security Network ISN website that O vert and overly interventionist involvement by international partners could worsen the problem conferring upon Boko Haram an international profile that it does not at least thus far warrant and thereby motivating it to up its game Asch Harwood an Africa research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations and a signatory of the letter to Clinton said on CFR s blog listing the group could in fact have the perverse consequences of enhancing the prestige of Boko Haram by linking Washington and the Nigerian government making the United States a legitimate target Some members of Congress however are calling for the immediate listing of the group responsible for killing over 300 people in northern Nigeria in 2011 On May 24 Sens Scott Brown R MA Saxby Chambliss R GA and Jim Risch R ID introduced the Boko Haram Designation Act of 2012 which if passed would require the State Department to determine if the group meets the criteria to be listed as a FTO In the House Reps Peter King R NY and Patrick Meehan R PA also wrote a letter to Clinton saying designating Boko Haram an FTO is essential to giving our intelligence and law enforcement agencies the legal authorities to deter individuals who might be providing support to Boko Haram in the U S and abroad and freeze any known Boko Haram assets Morgan Roach at the Heritage Foundation would probably not object to a FTO label but she offers several alternative options that would constrain Boko Haram including Partner with Nigeria s federal state and local governments in the north to address standards of development Abuja s failure to address economic and societal conditions has created a resentful population vulnerable to Islamic extremism Improving such conditions will assist in legitimizing the federal government in the north Establish a consular office in northern Nigeria A U S diplomatic presence would provide improved access to information collection and assist in engaging a society that is far removed from the south Urge the Nigerian government to practice restraint in its use of military force The mistreatment of innocent civilians is counterproductive and results in unintended consequences Hold the Nigerian government accountable for misuse of funding for counterterrorism and military

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Have_Hammer_Look_Nail (2016-02-16)
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  • Flawed Counterterrorism Policy Puts Aid Workers in More Danger | Charity & Security Network
    approach it ignores the work that NGOs already conduct to ensure that funds are not diverted to terrorists In fact the government has failed to show even one example of the diversion of USAID funds to terrorists The program s requirements are also very burdensome and require extra staff time and money which will discourage smaller groups from requesting grants But most troublingly the program turns NGOs into information collectors on behalf of the U S government an action that threatens the impartiality of humanitarian groups and puts their workers at huge risk Many NGOs have made this fear clear to State and USAID In comments sent to State urging for the PVS plan to be reworked several groups outlined the dangers the program would create InterAction an alliance of U S humanitarian NGOs warned that The perception that NGOs collecting personal information are operating as extensions of U S law enforcement and intelligence agencies undermines the basic principles of acceptance neutrality and trust upon which NGOs rely to preserve the safety of their staff and operations particularly in dangerous regions or in politically sensitive environments Full Comments Here State responded to the comment saying that there would be no guarantee that the PVS would not engender hostility towards NGOs and that they could not control the perceptions of other parties about U S government activities This is false however as State can help mitigate hostility toward NGOs by reworking the PVS Even other branches of the government have realized the vital importance of preventing the perception that NGOs are tied to the U S government A Department of Defense handbook for military cooperation notes that the perception that NGOs are affiliated with military personnel can have adverse security implications for the civilian humanitarian agency staff and beneficiaries and offers

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Counterterrorism_Policy_Puts_Aid_Workers_Danger (2016-02-16)
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  • How Misguided Counterterrorism Strategies Lead to Misguided Programs | Charity & Security Network
    agencies must follow certain v etting procedures in order to avoid indirectly financing terrorism such as requiring local grantee organizations to provide the U S with identification information for their staff There is nothing wrong with the intention behind such a precaution as real dangers exist But by placing so much energy and attention on monitoring every development penny and partner the U S risks losing the much larger opportunity to stop terrorist recruitment at its source by playing a significant role in improving the lives of communities at risk In the conflict affected hot spots around the globe where the U S is seeking real impact through development local people already assume that providing one s personal information in order to apply for U S grants exposes them to the U S intelligence and counter terrorism apparatus This means the small fraction of groups in Pakistan or Iraq or Yemen that are willing to take US money is already more pro Western than the majority of society But it is in the hinterlands where there is healthy skepticism of US intentions where the U S desperately needs to be seen as playing a more constructive role in addressing poverty and global inequality Placing even more invasive reporting requirements on local organizations may succeed in preventing pocket change from reaching terrorist groups But it is not going to help the US catch any additional terrorists and it will further isolate U S development dollars and strategies from the majority of at risk communities who need help the most That is neither good development nor effective counter terrorism If the U S is to succeed in stopping terrorism policymakers and public opinion shapers have to chart a clear vision to direct people s fears and hopes toward addressing the roots of

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/misguided_CTM_Strategy (2016-02-16)
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  • Paul Okumo Reports from the 4th High Level Conference on Aid Effectiveness | Charity & Security Network
    willing No one actually signs to it the way governments do with UN documents The agreement is that being present and not walking out is a sign of acceptance to follow through with the spirit of the final document 2 Almost 98 of the document is sealed signed and delivered and it is unlikely that after six months of negotiations major changes will be introduced In fact governments are trying to shorten the contents of the document 3 Even the 2 will depend on what we propose and how that proposal is interpreted by the governments 4 Many governments already have clear areas that they have been sent to negotiate on The Africa Union and NEPAD today made available to some selected delegates a glossy ten page document with the Africa Position So then you ask why CSOs spend so much time discussing 2 of a document First documents are the foundations on which policy decisions are built Even the wording of a text can have serious consequences For example in defining Ownership and Harmonization under the Paris Principles Donors and Governments failed to define who these owners were The result is that over the last four years Governments have interpreted Owners to mean Governments or States and harmonization to mean follow government direction leading to closure of several CSOs on grounds that they were not pursuing a government agenda Secondly in many cases the 2 are sometimes the little ink in a jar of water it pollutes the entire water In this document the 2 is the elevation of private sector to a higher role than even citizens the interpretation of development as economic growth the lack of explicit words guaranteeing space for CSOs to operate freely the absence of a recognition that Aid should and must catalyze development not just replace Taxation funding and a non realization that democracy and development are primarily about empowering citizens to own and demand their right to development It demands that government demonstrates its role in development and not let Donors and CSOs do what should be the responsibility of the state unless it can demonstrate that it has no capacity This is what is described as Rights Based Approach CSOs here know that these issues are difficult and hard to push through But they also know that we are here on behalf of citizens and we will seriously short change them if we do not let their voices be heard We also revisited the difficult issues of Aid Transparency Ownership of Development Results Measurement and the Accountability of CSOs The latter was the most difficult section of the discussion with International NGOs coming under heavy criticism over their partnership models on the continent especially in Africa and Latin America It is sad that on a day when we should have rallied each other to engage on collective issues we had to spend time addressing what we should have resolved two years ago That International NGOs especially the larger Donor INGO CSOs are increasingly using their capacity and mobilization power to encroach on the funding human resource and government created spaces for National and Regional engagement then sub contracting national CSOs as partners This issue first surfaced in the Open Forum for CSO development Effectiveness discussions in 2010 and was a major issue in the CSO enabling environment meeting in Johannesburg last week It appears that it is becoming more painful to the National CSOs that for over three years INGOs have been unwilling to take on the issue and help National CSOs better understand their context and rationale behind their actions So what can you do from where you are seated First we all agree that CSOs must first deal with our own accountability to citizens ourselves and the government as a first source of power to stop increased challenge to our legitimacy Here there is no option however much time we try to buy This accountability is at three levels Ethical and Moral why we do what we do and why it matters to the larger society Political the decisions we make internally and externally to justify what we do and Technical the stewardship of resources given to us on behalf of citizens Secondly many of the government delegation have begun to arrive we realized this when some of our colleagues had to give up their hotel rooms so for you who are not here in Busan what is left is an email or a telephone call Finally if you have any ideas on how to phrase the 2 issues that are still the subject of contention we would love to hear from you but you have only two days to do this CSOs are optimistic that citizens will eventually emerge triumphant even if they lose out on a document They say that patience and time are the greatest weapons at the disposal of any negotiator Day 3 Part 1 They say that coincidences are the things that God does and mankind chooses to let Him remain anonymous That phrase rang in my mind today as four of us raced out of the hotel where CSOs are meeting and flagged down any taxi that cared to see us The good thing with Busan is that taxis can stop anywhere even on Pedestrian crossings The cause of our race was the news that our Lead Negotiator they are called Sherpers here had just delivered to the over 600 CSOs gathered at the Grand Hotel in what was supposed to be an exciting closing ceremony It was not going to be The negotiators had failed to agree on almost all key issues no one was ready or willing to give in and it was clear citizens were going to be the greatest losers in this four year journey known as Aid Effectiveness I will spare you the details but it was clear that the political stakes are so high in this dialogue that it indeed qualifies as a High Level Forum We heard that The Emerging Economies known as BRICS Brazil Russia China and South Africa had introduced a document they wanted considered even though they personally did not show up at the negotiation table China was uncomfortable about any Human Rights language in the any Aid Effectiveness Document Suddenly someone wanted discussions opened into Climate Financing and a clear balance between commitment and responsibility Another country did not like the language that had been included in a section on Fragile states and needed several sections altered That is not all Untying of Aid No Progress Use of Country Systems to deliver Aid No Progress CSO Enabling environment that recognizes the role of CSOs and respects their rights and the Rights of Citizens to organize and work in accordance to international Human Rights Principles Rejected South South Cooperation China insists that the language must be based on its terms and make clear the distinction between South South and North South capacity building Private Sector Elevation as Core actors in development Governments have refused to back down on this Definition of Development as equal to Economic Growth no one wants to believe CSOs that this is not true In fact the determination to make the private sector a key actor seems an economic thinking not many are ready to drop except Rights based approach to development a request by CSOs No agreement In summary by 4 30 pm Korean Time it was clear that the losses were heavy and citizens were not going to make any major gains In order to understand why CSOs are worried here is how these meetings work There is a major conference hosted by CSOs before the government delegation arrive The Conference is intended to consolidate the position of CSOs But the Conferences also serve as a collective power that allows CSOs to daily provide their views to their negotiators about 4 led by a Chief Negotiator Each party Donors Governments and CSOs have their negotiators The rule is that when the Negotiators reach an agreement or compromise the document is agreed upon and sent passed by the larger delegation of government and donors But if any party CSO Government or Donor walks out the negotiation is abandoned and the entire document must now be taken to the Ministers Donors whose decision is final You therefore understand the apprehension that CSOs had at the end of today when we realized there is every possibility that the entire document will now go to the Politicians for their final word As I write this email the negotiations are still going on with every party hoping that the matter will be closed before midnight today But lest you feel that we have lost all there are tremendous gains The meetings offer CSOs excellent networking and sharing of ideas It serves to reinforce their effort and work and in many cases gives the desperate energy needed to continue in a work that rarely pays and rarely appreciates It is also a chance to forge new alliances build common ground and share our future aspirations for a better world Yesterday it was great to see CSOs shout Occupy in a show of solidarity with citizens And so the curtains came down on the Busan Civil Society Forum with CSO delegates left wondering what they will do if they discover tomorrow morning that they must now speak to their Ministers Tomorrow is the first Day of the 4th High Level Forum You can tell by the level of security in town When the main meetings begin and government delegations begin to arrive the meetings offer a rare bonding opportunity and an insight into the minds of the people who lead us These lessons are invaluable and they are worth every ticket and every hotel costs I met a lady who travelled three days to reach here and she has no regrets at all So here I am next to the BEXCO Complex the venue where the main meeting begins tomorrow So what are the lessons in all this There are critical lessons that we have learnt out of this process AID is HIGHLY POLITICAL In fact poverty is highly political Whoever told you that poverty is a social or economic problem lied to you How do you explain such high level meetings and all the extensive negotiations if we are simply looking at how to best help the poor Who does not know how to address poverty Do you remember a few years ago when the Kenya government spent over USD 90 million to study Where and How Poor are the Poor Really Just sit with the single mother in the slums in Mathare Kenya or the young boy in Cameroon or the orphan in Somalia or the refugee in Ivory Coast Right there not in Korea is where you will find the solutions to poverty And they do not care how many meetings we hold or how many issues we agree on It is the tragedy of development and sometimes I fear I may get caught up in this complex mix of attending conferences and High Level Meetings to resolve what my mother had already told me how to overcome So where does that leave the rest of us and where is the place of civil society in all these First it has given some of us a strong resolve that we must challenge the powers that have kept us in poverty for over 60 years Second I have realized that while it makes me feel guilty to sit here and say that I am here for the sake of the poor it is clear that the only way the lady in Mathare or the young man in Cameroon or the orphan in Ivory Coast the only way they will be heard is by some of us coming to sit here and let the world know that whatever it costs the cost of poverty is much higher They say that in Civil Society you visit a country and all you see is the Airport and Hotel room Nowhere is that more true than here in Busan Many of us have never had time to get out of the hotel room until late at night Even meal times have become strategy meetings and a few of us have already lost the little weight we had left When we are not in meetings we are working together to develop negotiation strategies or finalizing some text Everyday is unpredictable Back to my race for the taxi When the four of us raced out of to get a taxi we were trying to salvage what had become a very difficult situation And the man who helped us is a man I had met on a flight from Monrovia four months ago By then he needed to know how to get a hotel in Nairobi before getting a connecting flight and I offered to help him Today he turned out to be our key person who helped us understand what was going on Today he was the Chief Negotiator for one of the Key Government Teams They say in life there are two things you must never do Never ignore people for what value or lack of it you think they have We are all equal if you strip all the external things we call power and influence The World is too small do not sin too much You never know where your sin or lack of it is going to cost or save your life That is the life of CSOs here in Busan I heard a few of us ran out to go shopping That is their choice and in every team you will find such people For the rest if us we are Civil Society Our work must remain civil It must be about Society That friends is the reason we are doing what we do Day 3 Part 2 Yesterday I stated that the rest of the HLF4 was about formalities I was wrong I just learnt how poor I am in understanding the complexities of negotiations Because like Tony Blair said when he was going down and losing in the polls it aint over till it s over Today saw so many changes we never knew what we were going to have at the end of the day New Players new ideas new allies agreement the suddenly no agreement The small little room on the second floor of Busan Complex may be the hottest room in Busan But before I explain allow me to let you know what an exceptional leadership you have heard here in Busan It is impossible for me to speak for every CSO here there are about 500 of us and with over 150 countries gathered it each with about five to ten delegations the BEXCO Conference Centre is a swam of activities and movement that can mesmerize even the best of Conference attendees But allow me and again this is my humble submission to ask that you all sincerely salute the people you selected to negotiate on your behalf It is not my responsibility to name names you selected them and so you know them if we really believe in inclusivity ourselves in law and practice But even if you do not just remember this Many of us are coming from an honest background where we have spent our lives trying to make the world a better place with mistakes but with a lot of sincerity in many ways Yes there are some of us who falter along the way that is why we have a place we call earth and another we call heaven Remember also that this is the first time that CSOs are coming to such a High Level negotiation as equals It is the first time since the discussion on Aid Effectiveness begun in Rome that CSOs were mandated to be fully included to have a full voting right and to engage in all processes as equal actors Remember also that in doing this there are over 1 million of us yes over a million CSOs around the world Africa alone has over 216 000 NGOs that are formally registered and recognized by governments And that is only NGOs formally registered organizations that does not include trade unions citizen groups CBOs Private Trusts and Foundations Remember that we seek to serve over 5 billion people who live in some form of poverty around the world The causes of their poverty are varied multiple and complex We often simplify it into words such as inequality resource distribution leadership and governance disease But if you break each of these elements they are complex varied and will themselves be driven by different social cultural and economic as well as political issues The reason for inequality for the old couple I found sleeping inside the ramshackle of their small shop here in Busan on my first night will never be the same as the reason for inequality for the disabled in Timbuktu for example If you appreciate these complexities you begin to see how difficult it is to try and merge all these interests in a six page document that also must be agreed upon by politicians and donors and private companies and banks from 150 countries If there is only one thing you need to appreciate let it be that your team has been an exceptional one In a given circumstance like many of us it would have been easy to just walk away or accept some great compromise after all we all seem to find an easier way out But I have not seen it in the team that has been here The Better Aid has had to deal with a mix of challenges and multiple interests we all have our own interests Yet in all this it has remained true to the scorecard They have remained focused on what is needed for citizens and their

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Paul_Okumo_4th_Conference_Aid_Effectiveness_Busan (2016-02-16)
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  • The Good Wife TV Episode Highlights Restrictions on Lawyers Representing Groups on Terrorist List | Charity & Security Network
    on its face by including legal assistance under the definition of prohibited material support and therefore subject to criminal and civil penalties This part of the regulations was changed as a result of a court challenge but the effect of the new rules is equally harsh and restrictive The new administrative requirements include obtaining a special license from the same federal agency the legality of whose actions you were challenging to represent designated groups and individuals making all communications with your client subject to review by the government filing quarterly reports on case activities and receipt of legal fees limiting the amounts of legal fees that could be accepted to amounts that did not come close to covering the time and expenses required to properly handle an administrative or court challenge against the government and limiting the number of attorneys permitted to work on the case to two a far cry from the number of lawyers working on the government s side The result of these restrictions pure and simple was that lawyers especially larger law firms are discouraged from handling these cases and that groups and individuals that had been designated do not have proper legal representation if they wish to challenge the designations against them These types of restrictions on lawyers and on their ability to mount a proper legal defense are unprecedented in American jurisprudence Although there are restraints on paying for legal representation in criminal cases involving the proceeds of drug deals and special requirements for lawyers representing Guantanamo Bay detainees the government has never before sought to impose as wide range of restrictions on lawyers as has been done in the designation cases The Treasury restrictions directly and materially limit the affected lawyers ability to provide adequate and effective representation to their clients and impose the type of intimidation that is taking place against legal representatives of those designated In essence the government has imposed a scheme through administrative fiat that far exceeds anything that is authorized by statute that makes it difficult if not impossible to challenge their actions in making terrorism designations and insulates illegal and unconstitutional actions taken in the course of the designations from judicial review In The Good Wife episode the fictional Lockhart Gardner lawyer sarcastically responded to the inquiries of the Treasury Department monitor under the EO 13224 provisions by noting You are trying to make us your investigators in this case We are supposed to be working for our clients not the US government Only one legal challenge to these practices has taken place to date and that was very limited in scope The Center for Constitutional Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union sought a court order requiring Treasury to issue them a license to represent the father of Anwar al Aulaqi who was targeted for assassination by the U S government and at the same time was put on Treasury s terrorist list But the only aspect of the underlying licensing scheme that was challenged was

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/node/669 (2016-02-16)
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  • Hunger Without Borders and Discriminatory Aid Policies | Charity & Security Network
    the list of sanctioned countries in August 2011 O n Sept 26 2011 Treasury issued a General License for NGOs to operate humanitarian aid development and democracy building programs The license includes activities to support humanitarian projects to meet basic human needs in Syria including but not limited to drought relief assistance to refugees internally displaced persons and conflict victims food and medicine distribution and the provision of health services and more This is in stark contrast to Somalia where the terrorist group al Shabaab controls substantial territory Famine relief efforts are hampered by the prohibition on material support which makes it illegal for a U S NGO to talk to al Shabaab about logistical arrangements to access starving non combatants Although the State and Treasury Departments have granted an expanded license to allow NGOs that get funds from USAID to operate there privately funded programs still face the threat of criminal sanctions and being shut down if the government determines any of their aid is diverted to al Shabaab even if only incidentally or involuntarily InterAction an association of NGOs has asked Treasury to issue a General License that would allow all aid groups to operating in good faith to have the same protection as USAID grantees That was in August and two months later as the famine impacts grow there is still no response What is the difference between a starving child in Somalia and Syria They are equally hungry and the food situation in Somalia appears to be much worse than in Syria The answer to the question is politics foreign policy and bureaucratic gridlock But these factors are not proper criteria for making decisions about life saving humanitarian aid International humanitarian law and human rights law both demand that aid determinations must be based on need

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/node/654 (2016-02-16)
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  • Honoring International Charities and Their Workers on 9/11 | Charity & Security Network
    which helps explain why attacks against aid workers have escalated in the past decade Despite these risks aid workers continue their work in some of the world s most dangerous places like Afghanistan and Sudan Since the areas of greatest humanitarian need often overlap with conflict zones the risks they face will remain into the foreseeable future Their courage and commitment in the field or in the home office deserve our utmost respect and appreciation Unfortunately this is not always the case Charities especially organizations serving Muslim populations have been treated as national security threats instead of allies in fighting the root causes of terrorism Bureaucratic silos have prevented humanitarian considerations from entering into enforcement strategies and decisions The Supreme Court even upheld a law that prohibits U S peacebuilding organizations from directly encouraging terrorist groups to lay down their arms or to provide training in human rights peaceful negotiations There are signs of improvement in this situation The Obama administration has partially opened the door for humanitarian aid in famine stricken Somalia by stating it will not close down charities that receive funds from USAID and act in good faith if some aid inadvertently or involuntarily gets into the hands of the terrorist group al Shabaab By recognizing the good faith of USAID grantees as proven by the due diligence they exercise in carrying out their programs this new policy is a conceptual breakthrough that can be the basis of a better long term approach On this anniversary we should remember what happened ten years ago and the lessons we have learned since then We should not forget about the U S charities that respond to humanitarian crisis all over the world risking their own lives to save the lives of others and improve our world These heroes need

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/9_11_Honoring_Aid_Workers (2016-02-16)
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