The United States is one of 39 member countries of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international organization that promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism. The Financial Action Task Force has developed international best practices to help countries combat real efforts to exploit civil society organizations for purposes of money laundering and financing of terrorism, while also preserving the ability of civil society organizations to provide valued services to the community and government.
Speaking at the event, USAID Mission Director Dr. Jay Singh emphasized the vital role civil society organizations play in advancing the economy and providing essential social services. Dr. Singh also added that USAID recognizes the difficulty but also the importance of striking the right balance when it comes to anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism efforts with civil society organizations.
“It is important to note that any effective counter-terrorism strategy must strengthen, not weaken civil society,” said Natalia Bourjaily, Vice President of the International Center for Non-For-Profit Law (ICNL). She added, “Imposing burdensome reporting requirements on all non-profit organizations often does not contribute to combating financing of terrorism, but as an opposite, causes ineffective spending of government resources, which otherwise could have been dedicated to fighting terrorism.
The workshop brought together government, civil society, and international experts to discuss the role government and civil society organizations both play in preventing the abuse and exploitation of civil society organizations. They also discussed Azerbaijan’s current legislation on reporting obligations for civil society organizations related to the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and how it can better align with the FATF’s international best practices.
The workshop was funded by USAID’s Empowering Civil Society Organizations for Transparency project implemented by FHI360, ICNL, and MG Consulting.
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