Financial Inclusion for Freedom and Security


The Hague, October 2nd: To prevent conflict and sustain peace and democracy, civil society must be able to freely and independently organize itself and perform its duties. However, civil society space is being increasingly constrained not only directly, via crackdowns on civil society protests and organizing or the harassment, jailing or killing of activists, but also in the form of legislation and regulation for civil society organizations, via national and international security policies. An important challenge in this regard comes from countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) regulations, which inform international and national policies regulating civil society, and are a driving force in banks’ de-risking behaviour towards the sector.

This interactive event showcased new research on the topic of shrinking space for civil society, and more specifically on the negative impact of counter-terrorism financing regulations on civil society space. It highlighted how these measures have a disproportionate effect on vulnerable segments within civil society, such as women’s rights organizations.




More specifically, core objectives included:

– Increasing awareness of the importance of a holistic notion of what ‘shrinking space’ implies for different civil society actors;
– Sharing the latest international studies and providing groundbreaking case studies and new data on how CFT regulations interact with civil society’s freedom to organize and operate; its gendered impact, and how this in turn impacts on peace and human rights worldwide;
–  Providing insights into effective alliance building in the context of influencing multilateral processes around CFT (e.g., World Bank, FATF, CTITF and CTED); highlighting ongoing and new initiatives;
–  Providing action-oriented recommendations aimed at sustaining critical civil society space and financial inclusion.

Speakers included:
  • Jayne Huckerby, Clinical Professor of Law, Director International Human Rights Clinic, Duke University School of Law
  • Isabelle Geuskens, Executive Director, Women Peacemakers Program
  • Ben Hayes, Fellow, Transnational Institute
  • Kay Guinane, Director, Charity & Security Network
  • Sangeeta Goswami, Advocacy and Communications Officer, Human Security Collective
  1. Tightening the Purse Strings: What Countering Terrorism Financing Costs Gender Equality and Security, by Women Peacemakers Program & Duke Law International Human Rights Clinic
  2. Financial Access for US Nonprofits by the Charity & Security Network
  3. On Shrinking Space: A Framing Paper by the Transnational Institute
  4. De-risking and non-profits: how do you solve a problem that no-one wants to take responsibility for? by Ben Hayes, Lia van Broekhoven and Vanja Skoric
This event was organized by Women Peacemakers Program (WPP), Duke International Human Rights Clinic (Duke IHRC), Human Security Collective (HSC), Charity & Security Network (C&SN) and Transnational Institute (TNI) in cooperation with the Knowledge Platform Security and Rule of Law.

Regional Workshop on Preventing Terrorist Abuse of Non-Profit Organizations, Lome

GIABA, the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (an FATF-Style Regional Body) organized a three-day regional workshop on Preventing Terrorist Abuse of Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) in Lome, Togo, between June 12 and 14, 2017. Fulco van Deventer of HSC represented the Global NPO Coalition on FATF at the meeting, and spoke about the ‘Consultation & Involvement of NPOs in the Mutual Evaluation Process (Pre-Onsite, During Onsite and Post-Onsite)’.

Here is the final communique in the three ECOWAS working languages: English, French and Portugese. GIABA has committed to following up on its obligations and advocating for the political will on the implementation of the recommendations that came out of the workshop within its member States.

Mid-term Evalaution of Delft-Tunisia project

Delft and The Hague:  The midterm evaluation of the ‘Building Youth Resilience in Tunisia and The Netherlands’ programme took place between the 29 and 31 of May, with Free Sight Association (Tunis) and Participe (Delft), in association with Perspectivity and involving the donor, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands. See here for more details.

Nonprofits in Search of Financial Access: Real Problems, Potential Solutions

A webinar took place on 11 May 2017 on the issue of nonprofits around the world having difficulty accessing banking services. Financial regulations in countries, rooted in a comprehensive counter-terror finance regime as well as the ever-shifting political landscape, set the stage for financial institutions around the globe to continually re-evaluate their risk profiles. As a result, accounts are closed or never opened, wire transfers are delayed and correspondent banking relationships severed. This, in turn, impacts vital humanitarian aid, development, peacebuilding, human rights, and other programming.
Two recent reports examine the scope and impacts of this problem. Financial Access for U.S. Nonprofits, by the Charity & Security Network, provides the first empirical data on the issue and sets out a series of recommendations. Tightening the Purse Strings, by the Women Peacemakers Program and Duke Law International Human Rights Clinic, looks at the effects of counter-terrorism finance measures on gender equality and security.
The webinar featured the authors of the two studies, along with a discussion of work streams currently underway at the World Bank intended to craft solutions. For a link to the entire webinar, see here. For the slides, see here.
The speakers were:
Sue Eckert, Center for a New American Security
Andrea Hall, Charity & Security Network
Isabelle Geuskens, Women Peacemakers Program
Jayne Huckerby, Duke University School of Law
Emile Van Der Does de Willebois, World Bank
The webinar was moderated by Kay Guinane of the Charity & Security Network.

Civil Society Considerations on UN CT Global Strategy

Human Security Collective is a signatory to a letter sent to the UN Secretary General raising concerns about the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy from a civil society point of view. The letter highlights the following about the UN Strategy:

  • insufficient attention to the important role that civil society plays in both PVE and counter-terrorism and the need for the United Nations to continue to champion a “whole-of-society” approach to address these challenges
  • failure to emphasize sufficiently the centrality of protecting human rights when addressing the threats of violent extremism and terrorism
  • need for the strategy to be informed by evidence-based monitoring and evaluation efforts so that any UN-funded assistance programmes in this field are effective and not doing inadvertent harm

For the full letter, see here.

Kickoff Workshop: Women, Peace and Security in Libya

April 18-21, Tunis: The three-year project ‘Women and Youth as Bridgebuilders – fostering resilience in Libya’ kicked off with an intensive 3-day workshop in Tunis, attended by three Libyan partners (Together we Build It Foundation, Tamazight Women Movement and Makers of Hope for Human Rights) along with the three Dutch partners (Cordaid, Human Security Collective, Women Peacemakers Program). The objectives of the workshop were as follows:

  • getting to know the programme and each other
  • improving the theory of change, the assumptions and the indicators
  • getting down to the plan of action for the first year of the programme

Criteria for the selection of new Libyan partners to be part of the programme was also discussed, as were advocacy strategies and risk mitigation measures. A report will follow.

FATF Public Sector Consultative Forum

The Global NPO Coalition on FATF was represented at the FATF’s annual Private Sector Consultative Forum (PSCF), held this year at the UNODC offices in Vienna between the 20 and 22 of March 2017.  As the FATF notes: ‘The Forum is an opportunity for the FATF and its members to engage directly with the private sector on anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CFT) issues. It provides a regular platform for the FATF to learn more about the private sector’s views and concerns of AML/CFT-related issues’. Human Security Collective holds one of the four recently-allocated seats to NPOs on the PCSF as co-chair of the Global NPO Coalition on FATF.

The Global NPO Coalition on FATF also organised a day-long breakout session on the evaluation and risk assessment processes, chaired by the FATF Secretariat, and including multiple stakeholders representing a wide range of NPOs from across the globe,  governments, FATF Style Regional Bodies, banks, etc. The importance of involving NPOs early on in the evaluation process was emphasised, and also the need to engage with and collaborate with NPOs on a sustained basis. For a report on the meeting, including the NPO breakout session, see here.

National Action Planning on PVE, Tunisia

07-09 March, Tunis: This meeting follows on from the November 2015 workshop, which brought together representatives of various ministries and security agencies of the Tunisian government as well as a few representatives from civil society to find openings for dialogue and engagement between both government and civil society representatives in order to implement the national strategy against extremism and terrorism.

Facilitated by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and co-organised by the government of Tunisia, the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT) and the Human Security Collective (HSC), the aim is to further develop the multi-stakeholder implementation plan for the national strategy.