Have anti-terrorism laws violated human rights and democracy?!


Anti-terrorism legislation are laws the purpose of which is fighting terrorism. They usually, if not always, follow specific bombings assassinations. Anti-terrorism legislation usually includes specific amendments allowing the state to bypass its own legislation when fighting terrorism-related crimes, under the grounds of necessity. And, as all we know, the United States and Western countries are who seem keen to pass these laws at anytime they have chances.
Because of this suspension of regular procedure, such legislation is sometimes criticized as a form of lois scélérates which may unjustly repress all kinds of popular protests. Critics often allege that anti-terrorism legislation endangers democracy by creating estate of exception that allows authoritarian style of government.
Anti-terrorism laws around the world are preventing aid agencies reaching people in desperate need, the UN humanitarian chief has warned. More people would die in Syria because charities feared prosecution if they worked in areas controlled by the jihadist group Isis.
Western anti-terror laws are forcing aid agencies in Syria to avoid communities controlled by extremist groups, making it harder to deliver vital supplies and leaving people vulnerable to radicalization, a Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation found.
A survey of 21 international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) found government donors and banks were also demanding more in-depth audits in the two years since jihadist group Islamic State (ISIS) took root, sending costs spiralling.
Charities fear individual aid workers could face prosecution if payments are made for access, or goods fall into the wrong hands. While acknowledging the need for tougher laws, NGOs surveyed said operating in jihadi-run areas in Syria made them vulnerable to being blacklisted in the United States and European Union countries where the groups are branded "terrorists".
One international NGO which responded to the confidential survey said it had had to move some of its assistance programs to other areas in Syria "because of difficulties dealing with armed groups and fears of running afoul of anti-terrorism laws".
The Syrian NGO Alliance (SNA), a consortium of 90 NGOs working in the country, said its members were having to cancel projects because they could not keep up with the paperwork required by donors.
"This is really bad for Syrian people, who end up being more vulnerable to joining the terrorist groups because they do not get the humanitarian assistance," said SNA coordinator Fadi Hakim.
Affected charities said action taken by banks and money transfer companies in Britain, the United States and Turkey was excessively "risk averse", and time and money diverted to compliance work would be better spent on getting food, water and medicines into Syria.
Moving money into Syria is complicated. NGOs typically withdraw cash from Turkish banks and transfer it across the border using hawala, an informal trading system based on trust and personal ties.
Charities said Syrian drivers, doctors, trainers and logistical staff often require salaries to be paid through money transfer systems, such as Western Union, in Turkey. But three of the NGOs surveyed said Western Union had delayed or blocked payments when they had tried to wire cash to staff living close to the Syrian border. Western Union is "unable to share details relating to a specific country", a company spokeswoman said in a statement. It maintains "very strict controls to prevent the abuse of services, particularly in designated high-risk areas," she said.
Mohammed, a Syrian who works for a European charity, said his attempts to withdraw his salary from branches of Western Union on the Turkish side of the Syrian border were met with a shrug from a clerk.
"She never gives an explanation, but when I tell her I am Syrian she simply says there's no money or that the system is down," the 33-year-old said in a phone interview.
The financial problems are a side effect of the war on terror, which led to stricter regulations and scrutiny of bank transactions. That fight has gotten renewed attention because of the threats from extremist fighters from the so-called Islamic State group and reports that about 100 Americans sought to join those fighters. For financial institutions, concerns are also grounded in several high-profile cases against banks and charities, including a Brooklyn jury’s finding last month that a Jordanian bank was liable for supporting terrorism.
Some civil rights activists and charity workers say banks are discriminating against them because of their religion or ethnicity, but they also blame the U.S. government for imposing regulations they say discourage banks from working with them. Experts say banks are turning away charities not suspected of wrongdoing because those regulations have become costly and time consuming and because the risk is too great.
So what can donors and humanitarian agencies realistically do?
1. They take a risk and hope that their chiefs will not be jailed for long terms and their registrations cancelled forever. 
2. They find 'creative' ways of accounting for the monies spent on the 'levies'. This could include entering into broad contracts with local legitimate partner agencies and not insisting on a break down of expenses incurred or just passing off these levies under other accounting heads. 
3.  They scale down / do not deliver. 
Few of the credible agencies would want to take options 1 and 2 for very obvious reasons. They are not geared to take these risks and break the law.  Also most of them operate in other areas as well and they cannot put at risk all of their work for operating in the conflict areas.
Most agencies are therefore forced to scale down and not deliver humanitarian aid. This means the suffering people do not get access to safe water, food, health and any life saving support.   The de-facto governments, naturally, do not do much to meet basic needs of people. For once, it is not in their mandate and second a lot of territory keeps shifting hands. The governing is thus temporary. Thousands of people, if not millions, actually die or are forced to migrate out.
To summarize what happens when anti-terrorism laws clash with humanitarian imperative:
1. Donors release less money for humanitarian aid.
2. Aid agencies scale down work or spend a fortune on reaching few people. 
The affected people DIE. The aged, children and women die first. Viva the U.S. human rights! Viva Western democracy./.
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All comments [ 12 ]

Deck Hero14 17/3/16 18:57

Anti-terrorism legislation and licensing requirements reduce our nimbleness and slow down our effectiveness in reaching vulnerable people because of onerous reporting.

Pack Cassiopian 17/3/16 19:00

Banking problems are only increasing for humanitarian agencies, with millions of dollars of donations to charities working in war zones being blocked with no detailed explanation.

Only Solidar 17/3/16 19:05

It's apparently that those legislation has violated universal values of human rights.

MaskOf Zero 17/3/16 19:07

The interconnected international banking system means no major financial body is immune from U.S. anti-terror laws.

Love Peace 17/3/16 19:10

NGOs said these banks did not give an official reason for the closures, but said it was implicit they were to do with their work in Syria and concern about anti-terror laws.

yobro yobro 17/3/16 19:12

Britain's charity watchdog said earlier this month it had reopened an investigation into how a British man convicted of helping a teenager travel to Syria to fight with ISIS diverted charitable funds he raised through social media.

Jane smartnic 17/3/16 19:13

Some civil rights activists and charity workers say banks are discriminating against them because of their religion or ethnicity.

LawrenceSamuels 17/3/16 19:14

The key issue are that if you are working in areas affected by conflict and under the control of bodies that are classified as "terror outfits", you cannot help but interact with them.

Only Solidar 17/3/16 19:26

Efforts to deliver aid have been hampered by unexplained bank account closings and canceled transactions as banks recoil from any risk of funding terrorist organizations.

John Smith 17/3/16 19:27

As a result, critical aid to orphanages, refugee camps and hospitals has been delayed, blocked or put at risk, say charity workers.

Gentle Moon 17/3/16 19:29

Anti-terrorism laws are just a US and Western mean of intervening in other countries' affairs. Stop that!

Munna Dhar 2/6/17 15:34

Thanks you for Post. it was very useful for me.keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. Thanks for giving me the useful information. I think I need it!
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