After the Famine: The Ongoing
Crisis in Somalia
February 22, 2012
• Welcome and agenda
• August 2011 tele-briefing covered the “expanded license” policy
announced in August and Sen. Leahy's call for reforming the
"material support" laws that hinder humanitarian assistance.
• Transcript, audio file and PowerPoint available on CSN website,
• Today’s session will be an update on developments since then.
• Transcript, audio file and PowerPoint from today will also be posted
on the Charity & Security Network’s website
Allan Jury
Director, US Relations Office, UN World Food
Programme (WFP)
Responsible for managing WFP’s relations
with its major partners in the US government
and representing WFP in dialogue with USbased civil society and private organizations
interested in global food assistance issues. He
also coordinates WFP’s relations with the
World Bank headquarters. Previously he
served as WFP’s Director of External Relations
Joined WFP in 2001 after a 25 year career in
the U.S. Department of State. He served as
Director for Policy and Resource Planning in
the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of
Population, Refugees and Migration prior to
joining WFP.
Vincent Cochetel
Regional Representative for the U.S. and
Caribbean, UN High Commission on Refugees
Joined UNHCR in 1986, serving in Central
Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East and
participating in missions in Asia, West Africa and
Europe. In 2002, he was appointed director of
the Investigation Unit in the Inspector General's
Office at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva and in
2005 became Deputy Director of UNHCR's
Division of International Protection Services. In
2006 he served as Director of the Resettlement
Before joining UNHCR, Cochetel served as a
legal advisor on human rights in the EU.
Update on the context for NGOs
Kay Guinane, Director, Charity & Security
August 2011 announcement by
Treasury and State Departments that
“expanded licenses” would be issued
to USAID grantees to work in alShabaab controlled areas of Somalia
(see August tele-briefing at
Privately Funded NGOs
• Not covered by “expanded licenses”
• InterAction seeks General License from Treasury
Dept. (Aug. 4, 2011) as the “only efficient and
effective approach” for privately funded NGOs,
given the “extreme urgency of the humanitarian
crisis in Somalia and the legal constraints that
U.S. persons and organizations face…”
September 2011
Congressional Concern Over Barriers to Aid
House of Representatives
Sept. 8, 2011 the House Foreign Affairs
Committee’s Subcommittee on Africa,
Global Health and Human Rights held a
hearing to address the “east Africa
Humanitarian Emergency.”
Members of both political parties expressed
support for increased aid to the faminestruck area, and voiced concern about
obstacles nongovernmental organizations
(NGOs) face in getting licenses from the
Department of Treasury that would allow
them to work in areas controlled by the
terrorist group al-Shabaab. Committee
Chair Christopher Smith (R-NJ) promises
follow up action.
On Sept. 21, 2011, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
urged the Department of Justice to
“remove the uncertainty” surrounding the
material support statute that restricts U.S.
groups from conducting peacebuilding
activities and responding to emergencies
like the famine in southern Somalia.
November 10, 2011
Treasury Denies General License Request
November 10, 2011
Samuel Worthington
President and Chief Executive Officer
1400 16* Street, NW^ Ste 210 Washington, DC 20036
Dear Mr. Worthington:
Thank you for your October 3 letter regarding the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia. We share the sense of urgency
that InterAction members and others feel regarding the terrible humanitarian situation in Somalia and the broader Horn of
Africa region, and are working urgently alongside our partners in the U.S. Government to help address this crisis.
As we have discussed, the legal, logistical, and safety issues involved in operating in areas of Somalia controlled by al-Shabaab - a
designated terrorist group that has threatened and carried out violent attacks against innocents and aid workers - are serious,
complex, and dynamic. This situation does not lend itself to a broad general license. That said, OFAC remains ready to work
with U.S. NGOs on a case-by-case basis to review applications as necessary. To date, OFAC has received only two such
applications. In one case, we have issued a specific license. The other application is expected to be accommodated by
incorporating the activities described in the application into an amendment to an existing State Department or USAID
grant, thereby bringing the activities within the scope of those agencies' existing OFAC license.
We stand ready to work with you and your individual member organizations that are, or expect shortly to be, active in al-Shabaabcontrolled areas of Somalia to review your planned operations and safeguards and to identify- what additional authorizations
may be appropriate. We will continue to treat such inquiries or license applications in this area as a priority.
Thank you again for your correspondence, and for all that you and your members are doing to address this important issue. We
look forward to being in touch with you again soon.
Adam J. Szubin
Office of Foreign Assets Control
Contrast: General License for Aid in Syria
On Sept. 26, 2011 the Department of Treasury issued a “General License” that permits
NGOs to provide services in Syria that would otherwise be prohibited
under Executive Order 13582, signed by President Barack Obama on Aug. 17,
2011. It prohibits a wide range of financial and trade transactions, including
humanitarian aid.
The General License lists specific NGO activities that are permitted without the need to go
through Treasury's lengthy Specific License process.
"(1) Activities to support humanitarian projects to meet basic human needs in Syria,
including, but not limited to, drought relief, assistance to refugees, internally displaced
persons, and conflict victims, food and medicine distribution, and the provision of health
(2) Activities to support democracy building in Syria, including, but not limited to, rule of law,
citizen participation, government accountability, and civil society development projects:
(3) Activities to support education in Syria, including, but not limited to, combating illiteracy,
increasing access to education, and assisting education reform projects; and
(4) Activities to support non-commercial development projects directly benefiting the Syrian
people, including, but not limited to, preventing infectious disease and promoting
maternal/child health, sustainable agriculture, and clean water assistance."
USG Takes Additional Steps
Dec. 14, 2011
Letter to President Obama from 56 members of
Congress expressing “deep concern over the
continuing drought and famine” and asking him to
“personally speak out on the crisis”
Dec. 22, 2011
White House announces additional $113 million in
famine aid.
Jan. 24, 2012 State Dept. Press Briefing
U.S. response praised, said $870 million to Horn of
Africa in last 18 months, $205 of that to Somalia
Jan. 4, 2012
NPR reporter Scott Tong reports for Marketplace:
Was the world late to Somalia’s famine?
“As famine approached, aid was ‘frozen’…”
Aid organizations grants were running out, but
USG blames al-Shabaab, wiki leaks suggests U.S. terror
laws a factor
“By July, the U.N. declared a famine– in its words ‘the
most severe humanitarian crisis in the world.’ Only
then did international contributions ramp up. Only
then did Washington lift terrorism restrictions on aid.”
Save the Children UK and Oxfam UK Report:
• Indications of crisis as early
as August 2010
• Warnings repeated in
November 2010 and early
• “The scale of death and
suffering, and the financial
cost, could have been
reduced if early warning
systems had triggered an
earlier, more substantial
Reasons for failure to heed early warnings
• “One reason is that raising large sums of money
for humanitarian response currently depends on
getting significant media and public attention –
which did not happen until the crisis point was
• While many people on the ground knew crisis on
the way “they were not always able to get
traction ‘further up the chain’ from those who
needed to act to avert another crisis.”
• A transcript and audio file of this tele-briefing
will be available on the Charity & Security
Network website soon.
• See and click on

to the PowerPoint Presentation