Chatham House has published a paper investigating the impact of banking restrictions and sanctions on UK-based NGOs. The paper highlights the “challenging…and deteriorating” problem for NGOs and others involved in humanitarian aid of legal transfers of funds being blocked by banks wary of breaching sanctions. The report deals in particular with NGOs near areas where non-state armed groups are facing increasing restrictions on access to the financial system, including delayed transfers, freezing of funds and closure of bank accounts. It encourages banks and NGOs to cultivate relationships and for the UK Government to “take ownership of this challenge, providing guidance and clear messaging where ambiguity exists as regards sanctions and counterterrorism legislation…”
The UK government’s previous Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation David Anderson QC drew attention to this problem in several of his reports (see previous blog) and the Center for a New American Security discussed this problem in the USA in its paper published in 2016 (see previous blog).