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Bi-weekly News & Opinion - March 28, 2024

New from C&SN

C&SN’s Year in Review: 2023

Although 2023 saw almost unprecedented challenges for humanitarian responses, peacebuilding processes, and human rights work, in addition to continued shrinking civic space globally, C&SN led and contributed to a number of key achievements that best enabled civil society to thrive in some of the world’s most dynamic contexts. Read more about the work we are most proud of undertaking throughout 2023. (Mar. 28)


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

Fact Sheet: Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act

Section 6201 of the Foreign Assistance Act law prohibits security assistance to any government that restricts the delivery of U.S. humanitarian aid. The Center for Civilians in Conflict and Oxfam America authored a factsheet for Section 6201, outlining its relevance to aid delivery to Gaza where reports indicate Israel is blocking access. (Mar. 2024) 

Section 620I: No Military Assistance to States Restricting U.S. Humanitarian Assistance

Brian Finucane provides further analysis on Section 620I at Just Security. (Mar. 19)

Nonprofit Organizations and the Corporate Transparency Act

The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) requires most companies to report about individuals who directly or indirectly own or control the company. Most tax-exempt entities are exempt from CTA reporting requirements, with a few important exceptions. Attorneys at Dickinson Wright provide analysis at Lexology. (Mar. 15)


Homeland Security’s Broken Terrorist Prevention Program Needs to End

Spencer Reynolds, a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) staffer, argues that the DHS’ Targeted Violence and Terror Prevention Program (TVTP) fails to deliver any security value while squandering resources and fostering bias and baseless suspicion - most often against minority groups. Read the op-ed at The Hill (Mar. 20) and read the Brennan Center’s full report on the TVTP. (Feb. 27)

Civil Society

Russia Adds 'LGBT Movement' to List of Extremist and Terrorist Organizations

The move grants the Russian government the power to freeze the bank accounts of more than 14,000 people and entities listed as extremist or terrorist. Read more at Reuters. (Mar. 22)

What is Article 23, Hong Kong’s New Draconian National Security Law?

Article 23 grants the government new powers to crack down on all forms of dissent on the grounds of alleged treason, espionage, sedition and external interference in Hong Kong’s internal affairs. Al Jazeera reports. (Mar. 19)

Mali Deepens Crackdown on Civil Society

Mali’s minister of territorial administration’s order to dissolve a student association is the latest in a series of crackdowns on freedom of association. Ilaria Allegrozzi writes at Human Rights Watch. (Mar. 15)

Financial Access

Kenya has Tightened Its Laws to Stop Money Laundering: Why Banks are the Focus

Following the FATF greylisting Kenya for regulatory inadequacies combating money laundering and terrorism financing, Kenya has since implemented a new law, the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act, which imposes stricter risk management duties on banks. Constance Gikonyo writes at The Conversation. (Mar. 27)

Humanitarian Access

ICJ Orders Israel to Take Action to Address Famine in Gaza

Judges at the International Court of Justice have unanimously ordered Israel to take all the necessary and effective action to ensure basic food supplies arrive without delay to the Palestinian population in Gaza. Al Jazeera reports. (Mar. 28)

UN Security Council Demands Gaza Cease-Fire during Ramadan

The Security Council passed a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire following calls to improve humanitarian access with famine looming in Gaza. The U.S. abstained from the vote. Michelle Nichols and Nidal Al-Mughrabi report for AP News. (Mar. 25)

State Department: No Evidence Israel Violating Laws with U.S. Weapons

State Department spokesman Mat Miller said that the U.S. has not found Israel to be in violation with U.S. or international laws in war or regarding the provision of humanitarian assistance. The statement follows a group of U.S. legislators calling on the Biden administration to ensure Israel obliges to the National Security Memorandum (NSM-20) and 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act, which requires recipients of U.S. security assistance not to obstruct humanitarian aid. Blaise Malley reports for Responsible Statecraft. (Mar. 25)

* Senator Sanders (I-Vt.) has since issued a statement, saying “To pretend that Israel is not violating international law or interfering with U.S. humanitarian aid is absurd on its face.”

Joint NGO Submission under National Security Memorandum 20: The State of the Humanitarian Response in Gaza

“It is our experience that the humanitarian response in Gaza, including U.S. funded humanitarian assistance, has been consistently and arbitrarily denied, restricted, and impeded by the Israeli authorities,” said the group of NGOs. Read more at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). (Mar. 23)

Humanitarian Access SCORE Report: Gaza - The First Six Months

Fewer than 10 international NGOs have managed direct operations in Gaza since Israel’s siege began, according to a new report from aid analysts Humanitarian Outcomes. (Mar. 2024)

UNRWA Says Israel Will End Its Food Convoys to Northern Gaza

The head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) said Israel had informed the UN it will no longer approve UNRWA food convoys to the north of Gaza. Reuters reports. (Mar. 24)

UN Says Israeli Restrictions on Gaza Food Aid May Constitute a War Crime

Volker Turk, UN high commissioner for human rights, said Israeli restrictions on the entry of aid may amount to “starvation as a method of war”. Peter Beaumont reports for The Guardian. (Mar. 19)

UN Says 5 Million At Risk Of Starvation In Sudan

Roughly 18 million Sudanese face acute food insecurity. UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths called for improved humanitarian funding and access in a letter to the Security Council. Read more at Barron's. (Mar. 15)


Who’s Behind the Pro-Palestinian Protests in the U.S.? 

Despite accusations by some pro-Israel groups and former U.S. and Israeli government officials of potential ties between protest organizers and terrorist groups, public records show no clear evidence financially linking Hamas or any foreign governments to the American protests. Read the investigative report by Simone Wiechselbaum and Alexandra Chaidez at NBC News. (Mar. 20)  

Opposition to Palestinian Rights Shaped U.S. Anti-Terror Laws

Last month, Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights published a report on the history of the U.S. anti-terrorism law that reveals how opposition to Palestinian rights helped shape them from their foundation. Michael Arria interviews the report authors at Mondoweiss. (Mar. 18)


Iran Targeted Human Rights Sanctions Series: Understanding ‘Terrorist Organization’ Designations in Relation to the IRGC

Atlantic Council analyzes how terrorist organization listings are decided, the consequences of such listings, and how these are related to targeted human rights sanctions, highlighting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as an example. (Mar. 20)

Res. 2664 and Counterterrorism Measures: An Analytical Frame for States

UNSCR 2664 created a humanitarian carveout across UN sanctions regimes, and acts as a directive for states to harmonize their own humanitarian commitments with counter-terrorism security policies imposed by the Security Council. A new Harvard Law School report provides an analytical frame for states to consider as they find balance with their humanitarian and security obligations. (Mar. 2024)

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