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
• Tightening the Purse Strings: What Countering Terrorism Financing Costs Gender Equality and Security, by Women Peacemakers Program & Duke Law International Human Rights Clinic
• Financial Access for US Nonprofits by the Charity & Security Network
• On Shrinking Space: A Framing Paper by the Transnational Institute
• 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.