Non-profit organisations (NPOs) around the world face operational and legal restrictions due to counter-terrorism regulations. These are often justified by requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FAFT), which labelled NPOs as being “particularly vulnerable” to being used for financing terrorism up until 2016. This costs NGOS more in terms of time and money needed to look for solutions and causes delays in planned programming, lost windows of opportunity or even discontinued programmes.
Main Theses, Thoughts and Ideas
The issue is a very technical one, which needs to be put on the agenda at local, national as well as international levels and discussed with different stakeholders to raise more awareness and to call for needed expertise. NGOs should not hesitate to develop spaces for advocacy with government institutions and supranational regulatory bodies to look for common solutions.
The discussion underlined the important role of civil society peace building and their role in efforts to fight terrorism; NGOs can also actively reduce their own risks to terror finance and other financial crimes. It was also noted that the risk for a rise in terrorism increased, when civil society efforts are harmed or stopped. Another important result was that donor policies have a big impact and can contribute to the burden for civil society organisations. Donor policies therefore need to be reviewed with a do-no-harm approach in order to make sure that they strengthen and do not restrict civil society peacebuilding.