The following ten principles should guide the U.S. government’s approach to fixing national security rules and policies that create problems for legitimate charities, development programs, grantmakers, peacebuilding efforts, human rights advocacy and faith-based organizations:
The charitable mission, as stated in an organization’s governing documents, should be protected at all times.
Humanitarian aid to non-combatants should be legal when necessary to save lives or relieve suffering, even when contacts with a listed terrorist organization are unavoidable in order to deliver such aid.
Aid and development programs should put the humanitarian imperative first, be nondiscriminatory, and free to target vulnerable populations, such as children and the disabled and promote community development.
The efforts of peacebuilding and mediation programs contribute to a peaceful world and should be legal, especially when they seek to turn terrorist organizations away from violence.
Human rights and security laws are complementary, and not in competition with each other.
Security policies and rules applicable to nonprofits should be transparent, fair and proportionate.
An action, including donating to a charity or partnering with another organization, that is legal at the time it is taken should never become illegal after the fact.
Nonprofits and their donors should not be targeted for investigation or sanctions based on their religious or political beliefs.
To be guilty of the crime for supporting terrorism, a person or organization must intend to support its illegal and violent activities.
Nonprofit organizations are independent of government. Security policies and rules should not seek to use them as instruments of foreign policy.