The European Center for Not-for-Profit Law in its newsletter warned against AML/CFT-legislation that endangers fundamental rights:
Austria: anti-terrorism draft law raises concerns
In the aftermath of the Vienna terrorist attack in November 2020, the Ministry of Interior submitted a counterterrorism bill to the Austrian Parliament. ECNL contributed to the Parliament’s public consultation and highlighted the draft’s potential impact on the exercise of civic freedoms. ECNL’s concern refers, in particular, to the use of the concept of “religious motivated extremism” as a basis for criminalisation, which would constitute a serious interference on the rights to freedom of religion, expression and association. Read our detailed analysis here.
Push back against AML/CT/CFT overregulation?
At same time, we see some promising commitments coming from governments at the UN level processes about the negative effect of counter-terrorism policies and the importance of dialogue with civil society. See the statements from Estonia, Mexico and the UK.
The Special Rapporteurs with a letter to the government of Turkey expressed concern about the recent counter-terrorism law. They recommend the government reconsiders certain aspects of the legislation to ensure compliance with obligations under human rights treaties.
Finally, as we recently saw in Serbia, CSOs can attract responses from global bodies so to raise awareness and gain support for their domestic advocacy. See our briefer on avenues CSOs can pursue in case of misuse of counter-terrorism financing rules.
‘It’s essential to engage meaningfully w/ #civilsociety groups & private sector… Whole-of-society approach & prevention R more critical than ever in designing effective #CT policies ‘
Thank you @EstoniaUN for highlighting the importance of #participation in the #UN systems! https://t.co/4naIkCDTTf
— ECNL (@enablingNGOlaw) February 11, 2021
Addition 21 April 2021
ECNL in its March newsletter refers to new initiatives of FATF:
FATF is stepping up its efforts against states misusing its standards to restrict civic freedoms. As we reported earlier, in January 2021 it responded with a valid and clear criticism of Serbia reminding governments that overregulation of CSOs is not in line with its recommendations. This month, as a crucial new development, it announced the set up of a new work stream on the unintended consequences of poorly implemented AML/CFT measures. The FATF stream will seek to better identify and mitigate risks of financial exclusion and the abuse of counter terrorism measures. This is certainly a welcome step, in light of the worrisome trend we see in many countries, including Turkey.
The Global NPO Coalition on FATF, that ECNL is member of, is trying to make clear to FATF that its standards are harming the nonprofit sector.
ECNL also mentions an article on Just Security on FATF’s initiative regarding the harmful consequences of AML, e.g. de-risking, with the friendly title Protecting Civil Society in Global Counterterrorism: FATF Leads the Way, UN Should Follow.