INTRAC’s involvement with the effect of counter-terrorism measures (CTMs) on civil society began with a paper from INTRAC Associate Alan Fowler in 2005. During a subsequent series of international workshops we have seen some of this analysis echoed and reinforced in the real-life experiences of partners in different regions of the world.
INTRAC’s workshops have enriched our understanding of the fallout from the ‘War on Terror’ (WoT). In South Asia we have seen links between CTMs and deprivation of rights of the poor. In the Middle East the WoT has added to the instability and misery brought about by foreign invasions, occupations, wars and state oppression. In Central Asia, many NGOs are struggling to maintain democratic rights to freedom of association and participation. The Somali diaspora has found CTMs complicating the hawala system of remittance transfers that act as the lifeblood of Somalia, Somaliland and Puntland. UK-based Somalis have come under heightened police
suspicion and surveillance. US NGOs are struggling to find a balance between challenging their government and compliance, seeking to find ways of dealing with increasingly stringent CTMs whilst still maintaining independence and distancing themselves from the emphases of the WoT.