Act Now – Ask FATF to fix Recommendation 8 on NPOs

Invitation to join  call for revision of Recommendation 8 at the upcoming FATF plenary:

Sign on to a letter to the FATF President and Secretary requesting that the FATF open a process to revise Recommendation 8 and place it on the agenda for discussion at its February plenary. The letter is attached.  We need your response by Monday January 11.

This request underscores the position our coalition took in the comments we submitted on the IN revision on Nov. 27. Without a strong push FATF is unlikely to include this essential step in the plenary agenda.  And we firmly believe that revision of the IN, however well done, will not be effective without bringing R8 into line with a proportional, risk-based approach.

That is why it is so important for the letter to be signed by as many nonprofits as possible.  In addition, we need to push the FATF member governments to support this position in the plenary.  So we are also asking those of you in countries that are FATF members to reach out to your FATF delegation and urge them to support our request. (See the list of FATF member states here:

To sign on please email Vanja Skoric at the European Centre for Not-for-Profit Law at by Jan. 11.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need more information.

For the Global NPO Coalition on FATF:

Kay Guinane, Charity & Security Network, Co-Chair

Lia van Broekhoven, Human Security Collective, Co-Chair


Call for revision of Recommendation 8:

January 15, 2016

To:       Mr. Je-Yoon Shin, FATF President

Mr. David Lewis, FATF Executive Secretary

By email

Global NPO Coalition on FATF calls for revision of the FATF Recommendation 8[1]

The undersigned nonprofit organizations (NPOs), representing X organizations in X countries, coming from different backgrounds (human rights, social service, donor community, etc.) call on the FATF to open a process to revise Recommendation 8. Since Recommendation 8 provides the basic standard, it is necessary to integrate and ensure coherent application of the risk-based, proportionate and targeted approach that the Interpretative Note and Best Practice Paper further elaborate. Further, Recommendation 8 is currently based on the unproven assumption that the entire NPO sector is “particularly vulnerable” to terrorism financing abuse:

  1. This is not in line with the FATF-endorsed risk-based approach. It misleads governments to apply heightened measures to the entire NPO sector that result in over-regulation of the sector and various restrictions.
  2. There is no evidence that NPOs are particularly vulnerable compared to other sectors. Recommendation 8 fails to recognize that the vast majority of the millions of NPOs pursue legitimate charitable activities and that abuse for terrorist financing is rare. Indeed, the FATF Typologies Report, which only identified 102 case studies, acknowledged that cases of abuse are rare.

The need to revise the standard is also recognized by the UN special rapporteurs: “The absence in recommendation 8 of any reference to the right of freedom of association (and its corollary, the ability to access financial resources) and to the need to respect the principles of legality, proportionality, necessity and non-discrimination, has lent a veneer of legitimacy to States that have adopted legislation without due respect for their international human rights obligations. The Special Rapporteur concurs with the conclusion of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association that recommendation 8 “fails to provide for specific measures to protect the civil society sector from undue restrictions to their right to freedom of association by States asserting that their measures are in compliance with FATF recommendation 8”[2]

Therefore we strongly urge FATF to revise Recommendation 8, as follows:

Current Recommendation 8 language:


Proposed revised text to replace the bold part of the current R8 with:
Countries should review the adequacy of laws and regulations that relate to entities that can be abused for the financing of terrorism. Non-profit organisations are particularly vulnerable, and countries should ensure that they cannot be misused:  … If some non-profit organizations are identified as vulnerable, a proportional and targeted approach is needed. Countries should apply risk mitigation measures only if the risk is identified, and to those non-profit organizations at risk: …

Supported by:

Human Security Collective

Charity & Security Network

European Foundation Center

European Center for Not-for-Profit Law


[1] These suggestions for revision of Recommendation 8 do not imply endorsement of a specific FATF Recommendation, as the evidence suggests NPOs are no more vulnerable to abuse than other sectors.

[2] Report of the UN Spercial Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Ben Emmerson, A/70/371, p 11

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