HPG: Terror laws ruin our humanitarian aimsOctober 31, 2011
Then maybe there’s something wrong with your “humanitarian” projects in the first place…
A new report from the U.K.-based Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) claims that “The application of counter-terrorism legislation and other measures to humanitarian operations is challenging principled humanitarian action.” This is the latest argument from the same type of people who falsely claim there has been a “chilling effect” against Muslim charitable giving over the past ten years.
The HPG report fails to offer any data substantiating their claims. The best the report is able to do is describe interviews with anonymous charity workers who claim to have felt “uncertain” or “anxious” about how to comply with laws against terrorism while carrying out their programs overseas. Not even one example with a named source or named organization is given.
Money Jihad will spare readers from slogging through HPG’s twelve page report. We’ll even help HPG out a bit by boiling down their most damning (which are pretty mild) charges about the impact of counter-terror laws on humanitarian action into a simple bullet list:
- “Several small organisations which ran sponsorship schemes for orphans in the Gaza Strip using private donations from Gulf donors have had to stop their operations”
- “Examples provided in interviews for this Policy Brief include OFAC licences not being renewed for specific projects in Gaza”
- “Fears that Al-Shabaab was benefiting from the influx of humanitarian assistance, particularly food aid, led OFAC to suspend over $50 million in humanitarian aid for Somalia in 2009”
- “Bank transactions are frequently stopped without explanation and organisations have to wait for up to three months while an investigation is carried out.”
- Due to concern about the parties involved, aid meetings in Gaza are conducted without minutes and advice is circulated on non-letterhead paper.
Those are the worst, most specific allegations they made. So somebody—we’re not sure who, but they’re probably in Gaza—once felt concerned that they weren’t able or were delayed in carrying out unspecified activities in a manner they chose. The ladies who wrote the report probably have the best of intentions, but if a certain donor or charity finds it difficult to work in Gaza without working with Hamas, then perhaps they should be performing charity work elsewhere.
The report would have been far more credible if it had included, at best, scientific data, but at a minimum, named sources with anecdotal evidence at a minimum.