Any abuse of humanitarian aid remains inexcusable, an ill we must absolutely and without delay redress. Beyond our collective duty of care to those made most vulnerable, we must also come to terms with those dynamics we have unwittingly become party to for a lack of due diligence.
Indeed, much needs to be done by way of transparency and due process to counter the advances of radicalism and Terror so as to ensure that funds earmarked to the alleviation of communities’ suffering – wherever they may be, do not sustain the very dynamics we are trying to prevent and/or break.
It is to discuss this pressing issue that the Henry Jackson Society, by invitation of Baroness Ros Altman held an event at the House of Lords this September (6 September 2022). Our panel of speakers included Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor’s legal advisor, Col. Richard Kemp a renowned expert on defence, terrorism and intelligence, and myself, a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society.
While the issue of aid misappropriation has been a perennial one – the ugly twin sister of the humanitarian sector, solutions have been few and far between. In July, a report by the Jerusalem Post revealed that UNWRA distributed educational materials to schoolchildren glorifying Jihad, whilst calling for the annihilation of both the State of Israel and the Jews. Such egregious failings are of course not a reflection of UNWRA’s ideological position but rather proof that a more stringent system of vetting and auditing ought to be put in place.
Our gravest fault would be to identify our failures and refuse to remedy them. Considering the ramifications and repercussions such failures would actually mean by way of association to unsavoury ideologies, narratives, and practices; solutions are necessary. Terror as it were starts with the decimination of ideas; ideas found in books and other media.
“Our money is helping perpetuate this terrorism… We are all, unwittingly, state-sponsers of terrorism in that regard. It isn’t just in schools and textbooks that we help fund. It’s also on TV, in films, in literature, that this message is being spread. It starts with education. This isn’t just terrorism, it’s also child abuse” – Col. Richard Kemp