Bi-weekly News and Opinion Roundup - May 6, 2021
Events
On May 24, from 9-11am EDT, the International Center for Nonprofit Law (ICNL) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency “are hosting a high-level virtual conversation on emergency measures, fundamental freedoms, and revitalizing civic space in the wake of COVID-19.” Read about the event here, and register here. (May 24).
Featured Resources
A new report from the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights details a relentless campaign against NGOs that advocate for the rights of Palestinians and Syrians. The report explores the varying forces behind this campaign, the tactics it employs, as well as efforts to respond. Read the full report here. (April 27).

A new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) argues that Isarel’s actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in which “authorities have targeted Palestinians for their anti-occupation speech, activism, and affiliations, jailing thousands, outlawing hundreds of political and non-government organizations, and shutting down dozens of media outlets,” amount to crimes of apartheid and persecution. Read HRW’s press release here, and the full report here. (April 27).
Financial Access
A briefing note from Islamic Relief Worldwide examines how restrictions, delays, and denials of banking services for humanitarian NGOs are imperiling people who depend on humanitarian aid, and offers recommendations for governments and financial institutions. Read the summary here, and the full briefing note here. (April 23).
Humanitarian Aid
Dorothy Hilhorst, Professor of Humanitarian Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, respectfully disagrees with a proposal to form an Independent Commission for Voices in Crisis (ICVIC), arguing that independent oversight of humanitarian programs “should only be a last resort in a chain of accountability that is ingrained from bottom to top and starts where aid is delivered.” Read the full story in the New Humanitarian. (May 4).

This article details some of the impacts of the military coup in Myanmar on humanitarian aid workers, who “are increasingly afraid to travel as the military indiscriminately kills civilians and arrests thousands, often without charges.” Read the full article in the New Humanitarian. (May 3).

On April 19, the Cambodian government imposed a lockdown in parts of the capital and other cities hardest hit by COVID-19. People in these areas have been “prohibited from leaving their homes even to buy food and other basic necessities,” and “Amnesty International has received alarming reports that even humanitarian NGOs have been barred from distributing food and other essential aid.” Read the full story on Amnesty International’s website. (April 30).
Sanctions
Offering a broad overview of U.S. sanctions policy, Rob Graver of VOA highlights the harm that sanctions can inflict on civilian populations, and questions their efficacy. Read the full article here. (May 6).

Beatrix Geaghan-Breiner, an intern at the Quincy Institute, excoriates U.S. sanctions policy, arguing that broad-based sanctions are an indiscriminate weapon that harm civilian populations and rarely achieve their goals. She also thoroughly explains why they remain such a dominant force in U.S. foreign policy despite their poor track record. Read the full article in Responsible Statecraft. (May 5).
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