In Safeguarding Humanitarian Access in Sanctions Regimes Alice Debarre of the International Peace Institute argues that although sanctions regimes are used with the assumption that they minimize harm, they actually can devastate civilian populations, particularly those that rely on humanitarian aid, including refugees and internally displaced persons. Sanctions regimes also affect humanitarian organizations’ ability to deliver aid on the basis of need alone and not be directed by the political objectives
Colombia Over the last half century, civil conflict in Colombia has left as many as 220,000 dead, and 5.7 million displaced (CFR). In the 1960s, after a decade of political violence known as la Violencia (1948–58), the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) were founded. These two insurgent groups have opposed the Colombian government and primarily seek to change the country’s economic model. Fifty
A group of 13 international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) that provide humanitarian aid in areas of greatest need call on the UN’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to provide the “fullest support for efforts to protect principled humanitarian action from the impact of counterterrorism measures.” Noting that this year is the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, the June 19 letter states that although the UN has said counterterrorism measures
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced Senate Resolution 171 on April 18, 2019 call on the administration to restore U.S. assistance to civilians in the West Bank and Gaza. Joined by five co-sponsors, S Res 171 also calls on Congress to clarify provisions of the 2018 Antiterrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) so that acceptance for funds for food and essential humanitarian services cannot be used to trigger jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority for ATCA lawsuits
The UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2462 to “Combat, Criminalize Financing of Terrorists, Their Activities” on March 28, 2019. It is binding on all member states and can be enforced by UN sanctions. Sponsored by France, Resolution 2462 is the results of intense behind-the-scenes negotiations, including efforts by civil society to include clear safeguards for humanitarian and peacebuilding activities as well as cautions against further bank derisking of nonprofit organizations (NPOs).
There are many challenges for principled humanitarian action - security in conflict zones, lack of adequate funding and more. But counterterrorism measures can also present certain challenges, including areas of tension between international humanitarian law and various counterterrorism and sanctions measures. Navigating this landscape can be complicated, raising important considerations for humanitarian organizations undertaking this essential work. Recording Now Available View "Challenges and Considerations for Humanitarian Assistance in the Current Legal Landscape,"
A report from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Principles Under Pressure: The Impact of Counterterrorism Measures and Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism on Principled Humanitarian Action, aims to update the evidence base for the impact of counterterrorism measures on humanitarian groups' ability to deliver aid to populations under the control of designated terrorist groups. It also sets out to examine what impact, if any, the emerging areas of P/CVE has on principled humanitarian action. Read
In 2011, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published a landmark study, To Stay and Deliver, which documented practices of humanitarian organizations delivering aid -- particularly in highly insecure environments. The report’s main objective was to propel a shift from humanitarian organizations asking “when do we have to leave” a conflict area to “how do we stay” for those who need us the most.
In August 2017, Chatham House’s International Security Department and International Law Programme issued a report -- Recommendations for Reducing Tensions in the Interplay Between Sanctions, Counterterrorism Measures and Humanitarian Action -- that identifies concrete ways for all stakeholders to address the issue. Often, sanctioned or terrorist-designated groups control areas of humanitarian need. The legal prohibitions regarding these groups can include incidental payments that humanitarian actors may need to make
The effect of derisking on nonprofit organizations (NPOs) was raised during the first of what is hoped to be several Congressional hearings on derisking was held by the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee on February 15. Titled “Examining De-Risking and Its Effect on Access to Financial Services” the hearing centered largely on Operation Choke Point, a former government program that resulted in