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Safeguarding Humanitarianism in Armed Conflict: A Call for Reconciling International Legal Obligations and Counterterrorism Measures in the United States

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Published:
1 June 2012
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Safeguarding Humanitarianism in Armed Conflict: A Call for Reconciling International Legal Obligations and Counterterrorism Measures in the United States

This report (2012) by Kay Guinane, Karen Siciliano Lucas and Elizabeth Holland through CSN (Charity and Security Network) examines where and how the international obligations of the U.S.conflict with domestic counterterrorism measures in the context of humanitarian action in armed conflict.

Part 1 shares basic information about U.S. counterterrorism measures, including the broad prohibition on material support of terrorism and the procedures used to put charities on terrorist lists and freeze their assets. Part 2 describes the legal framework of international humanitarian law (IHL) that addresses relief operations during situations of armed conflict.IHL is the body of law seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict,including providing protections for those who are not or are no longer participating in the fighting. Part 3 examines how U.S. counterterrorism laws, particularly the current provisions prohibiting material support to terrorism, contradict a number of key precepts of international law. This is because they apply blanket preemptory restrictions that ignore the carefully calibrated and context-specific balancing of security and humanitarianism that is inherent in international law.

 

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