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Bi-weekly News & Opinion - March 14, 2024

New from C&SN

Defense for Children International–Palestine, et al. v. Joseph Biden et al.

The lawsuit claims that the U.S. “is failing to uphold its legal obligation to prevent genocide, and President Biden and other high-level officials are actively aiding and abetting the Israeli government’s genocide of the Palestinian people.” Read C&SN’s legal analysis. (Mar. 14)

U.S. Support to Israel Reinforces Gaza Aid Restrictions, Violates U.S. Law 

On Mar. 12, C&SN, along with 25 humanitarian, human rights, and arms control organizations, signed a letter to President Biden, expressing that U.S. security assistance to Israel has contributed to humanitarian aid restrictions in Gaza in clear violation of U.S. law. Read more at C&SN. (Mar. 13)

Broad Coalition Launches to Build Pressure on Congress Ahead of Israel's Planned Attack on Rafah

C&SN joined 28 partner organizations in launching, a grassroots action tool to apply urgent pressure on members of Congress to call for an immediate, permanent ceasefire. Read the full story at C&SN. (Mar. 6)


C&SN Opportunity Spotlight

Consider registering as a C&SN Member (no financial commitment required) to receive our weekly Opportunity Spotlight Newsletter. There we share exclusive opportunities for civil society input, webinars, events, and working groups on key issue areas such as sanctions, material support, financial access, lawfare, and more.

Featured Resources

Gender, Counter-terrorism Financing, and De-risking: Women Pay the Price

C&SN’s latest issue brief, published on International Women’s Day (IWD), provides an overview of the gendered impacts of counter-terrorism financing measures and de-risking, highlighting the disproportionate impacts these have on women. (Mar. 8)

The Wolfsberg Group on Countering Terrorist Financing   

Misapplication of countering the finance of terrorism (CFT) measures over the last twenty years has led to unintended consequences, such as “de-risking” legitimate customers from financial services. A recently issued statement from Wolfsberg Group describes the role of financial institutions (FIs) in combating terrorism finance, and underscores the importance of implementing a risk-based approach. (Mar. 2024)


Rampant Abuse of Counter-Terrorism Laws Threaten Human Rights Globally, Warns UN Expert

Over two decades of prolific global efforts to counter-terrorism have not been matched by an equally robust commitment to human rights, warned the recently appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, Ben Saul. Read the full story at UN OHCHR. (Mar. 12)

Civil Society

Sri Lanka: Repression of Civic Space Threatens Financial Reform

“The IMF and other international partners supporting Sri Lanka’s economic recovery recognize that this crisis has its roots in misgovernance and corruption,” Human Rights Watch Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly said. “If their efforts are to be successful, they need to stand firm against the government’s attempts to curtail fundamental civil and political rights.” One prominent issue is the Anti-Terrorism Bill, currently before Sri Lankan parliament, which contains sweeping new speech-related offenses and arbitrary powers of arrest. Read more Human Rights Watch. (Mar. 12)

Tunisian Civil Society Fears Plan to Limit Foreign Funding

Tunisian civil society groups fear the government is planning to starve them of foreign funding under the pretext of fighting money laundering and terrorism. Read more at France24. (Mar. 4)

Foreign Agents

Foreign Agent Law Faces Sweeping Changes

It has been decades since there have been major legislative or regulatory updates to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which imposed registration and reporting requirements for individuals and entities seeking to sway U.S. policy or the public on matters of foreign interests. Taylor Giorno reports for The Hill. (Mar. 5)

Humanitarian Access

U.S. Senators Call on Biden to Condition Israel Aid on Humanitarian Access

Eight U.S. Senators sent a letter to President Biden calling for compliance with Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act, which bars U.S. military aid to countries that restrict access to humanitarian assistance. Read more at Al Jazeera. (Mar. 12)

Israel Visa Freeze on Aid Workers Compounds Gaza Woes

Along with cumbersome border checks and relentless Israeli bombardment, the humanitarian response in war-ravaged Gaza faces a new challenge: a de facto freeze on visas for many international aid workers. Read the full story at France24. (Mar. 10)

Siege and Starvation: How Israel Obstructs Aid to Gaza

A Refugees International team traveled to Egypt, Jordan, and Israel in January 2024 where they interviewed key stakeholders in the aid response, displaced people inside Gaza, and people who had recently fled the conflict. Read the report at Refugees International. (Mar. 7)


Canada to Unfreeze Funds for UN Palestinian Refugee Agency, CBC Reports

Canada is planning to resume funding to UNRWA weeks after pausing donations over Israeli allegations that 12 of the agency's staff were involved in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. Read more at Reuters. (Mar. 6)

Gaza In-Depth: Why Israel Wants to End UNRWA and What Its Closure Would Mean

UNRWA’s staff and infrastructure in the enclave dwarfs that of any other UN agency or NGO, and, if it is forced to reduce or cease operations, that would have major consequences. Riley Sparks, Hajar, Harb, and Omar Nabil Abdel Hamid report for The New Humanitarian. (Mar. 6)


New Historic Sanctions on Russia from U.S. Government

Attorneys at Greenberg Traurig LLP outline a wave of U.S. sanctions placed on the Russian Federation at the two-year mark Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Included are 300 additions to the Specially Designated Nationals (SND) list, 93 additions to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Entity List, and four general licenses that create limited exceptions to the new sanctions. Read the analysis at National Law Review. (Mar. 11)

OFAC Issues Guidance for the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance and Critical Commodities to the Yemeni People

Following the re-designation of the Houthis as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group, the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued guidance to reassure private-sector actors and humanitarian groups that the designation should not prevent assistance and trade with the Yemeni people. Attorneys at Baker McKenzie provide analysis. (Mar. 5)

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