A report from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Principles Under Pressure: The Impact of Counterterrorism Measures and Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism on Principled Humanitarian Action, aims to update the evidence base for the impact of counterterrorism measures on humanitarian groups’ ability to deliver aid to populations under the control of designated terrorist groups. It also sets out to examine what impact, if any, the emerging areas of P/CVE has on principled humanitarian action. Read more

Impacts were examined at the structural, operational and internal levels. The report’s authors found that counterterrorism measures limit organizations’ ability to implement programs according to needs alone, obliging them to avoid certain groups and areas, and that the spread of P/CVE can damage humanitarian action by linking it with political agendas. Lack of clarity regarding counterterrorism requirements “continues to cripple humanitarian organizations,” the authors found. Additionally, the issue of bank derisking has become a major hurdle.

Humanitarian organizations employ mitigation measures and coping mechanisms in the face of these challenges, the report explains. For example, NRC’s 2015 Risk Management Toolkit has proved useful, but organizations still lack context-specific guidance on dealing with humanitarian exemptions and licensing and other issues. To cope with derisking, humanitarian organizations increasingly use informal transfer mechanisms such as hawala, a traditional, largely unregulated transfer system. “It provides a reliable, attractive alternative to those struggling to transport cash, but it is costly, and the lack of regulation in some contexts means it could potentially increase terrorist financing risks,” the report states.

Read the full report.