Charities urge British government to help them navigate anti-terror laws to provide Syrian aid

By REUTERS
March 20, 2016 03:27

LONDON - The British government must do more to reduce the negative impact of anti-terror laws on Syrians' access to crucial humanitarian supplies, charities said on Sunday.

In a letter to the prime minister, David Cameron, 12 UK-based aid organizations said "ambiguous" legislation was slowing down or blocking the flow of funds to Syria as it was encouraging some banks to become more risk averse.

"Regulators should proactively clarify the (anti money-laundering) regulations and ensure that banks act in a proportionate manner," the letter said.

Last month a Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation revealed the extent to which Western anti-terror laws were forcing aid agencies in Syria to avoid communities controlled by extremist groups.

In a survey, 21 aid organizations operating in Syria said banking regulations were making it harder for their staff to deliver vital supplies, leaving people vulnerable to radicalization.

Despite a widespread truce that has lasted three weeks, Syria's government has refused to give permission for aid convoys to enter six areas under siege by its forces, a UN humanitarian adviser said on Thursday.


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