The Charity & Security Network (C&SN), in partnership with the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP) and 11 other member organizations, sent a letter to U.S. officials urging defeat of Kenya’s proposal to designate Al-Shabaab a terrorist organization under UN Security Council Resolution 1267, which has no humanitarian safeguards. Al-Shabaab is currently sanctioned under Resolutions 1844 and 1916, which both have protections for humanitarian action. Designation without such safeguards would have severely impacted already-limited humanitarian access in Somalia. Six countries on the Security Council—the United States, Germany, Belgium, Poland, France and Kuwait—blocked this resolution.

The 2011 famine in Somalia was devastating and the high impact was preventable: 260,000 people died, in part because humanitarian safeguards were not put in place on time, particularly by the U.S. As a result many NGOs were not able to deliver aid to Al-Shabaab-controlled areas without putting their staffs and organizations at risk of fines or prosecution. Since then the UN has established such safeguards in Resolutions 1844 and 1916.

Working in Somalia is already difficult and dangerous, and the added legal jeopardy Resolution 1267 would have deeply exacerbated these problems. According to a letter opposing the proposed designation written by 20 high-level diplomats and humanitarians, Somalia currently has four million people in need of humanitarian aid, including one million children facing malnutrition. Successfully designating Al-Shabaab under Resolution 1267 would have deeply impacted the ability of humanitarian organizations to deliver aid to people desperately in need.

C&SN’s letter was addressed to the Departments of State and Treasury, USAID and Congressional foreign policy leaders urging them to block Kenya’s proposal to the Security Council. It was signed by the following organizations:

  • Alliance for Peacebuilding
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa
  • Charity & Security Network
  • Defending Rights & Dissent
  • Finn Church Aid
  • Friends Committee on National Legislation
  • International Civil Society Action Network
  • Kinder USA
  • Peace Appeal Foundation
  • Peace Direct
  • Terre des hommes
  • Young-adult Empowerment Initiative

This effort proves the importance of working together to address threats to principled humanitarian action and people in need.