AML/ATF Update

By Terrance S. Carter, Sean S. Carter and Nancy E. Claridge

Apr 2024 Charity & NFP Law Update
Published on April 25, 2024



UN Special Rapporteur Calls for Protection of Human Rights in Anti-Terror Measures

In his inaugural report (“the Report”) to the Human Rights Council, dated January 17, 2024, Ben Saul, the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, underscored a disconcerting dissonance between the extensive global endeavors to combat terrorism and a corresponding deficiency in safeguarding human rights. His claim is that, over the span of more than twenty years, efforts to combat terrorism have been marred by a litany of human rights violations.

The landscape of counter-terrorism, as framed by the Report, is fraught with a multitude of human rights transgressions. These include, but are not limited to, unlawful killings, arbitrary detention, torture, unfair trials, privacy infringements resulting from mass surveillance, and the curtailment of fundamental freedoms, such as expression, assembly, association, and political participation.

Saul pointed out the insidious repercussions of misusing counter-terrorism measures, not only in infringing upon the rights of suspected individuals, but also in imperiling the liberties of the innocent. He condemned the pervasive misuse of broadly defined terrorism laws against civil society, targeting political dissidents, activists, journalists, human rights defenders, minorities, and students alike. Moreover, Saul highlighted the detrimental effects of prolonged states of emergency on human rights.

The excessive use of military force in response to terrorism was also discussed in the Report, claiming that it often leads to violations of international humanitarian law and international criminal law. Furthermore, the escalating trend of cross-border military actions by states, even when not justified under the principles of self-defence in international law, was deemed as concerning.

Saul lamented the failure of many states to address the root causes of terrorism, including their own human rights violations, while impunity for such transgressions remains rampant. He also criticized the UN’s role in exacerbating the issue by endorsing authoritarian regimes’ adoption of draconian counter-terrorism laws without adequate legal and human rights safeguards.

Setting forth his priorities for his tenure, Saul articulated his commitment to ensuring that regional organizations uphold human rights while combating terrorism, that coercive administrative measures employed to prevent terrorism comply with human rights standards, and that states are held accountable for widespread human rights violations stemming from counter-terrorism efforts, with due attention to providing victims with comprehensive remedies.

Additionally, Saul pledged to continue the initiatives of his predecessor, focusing on preventing the misuse of counter-terrorism measures against civil society, safeguarding the rights of detainees in conflict zones, such as north-east Syria and Guantánamo Bay, regulating the use of new technologies in counter-terrorism, and protecting the victims of terrorism.

In a cautionary note, the Report highlighted the heightened risk to human rights in the realm of counter-terrorism due to increasing authoritarianism, domestic polarization, geopolitical tensions, dysfunction within the Security Council, and the proliferation of social media platforms facilitating dehumanization, incitement, and misinformation. Saul urged states to transcend mere lip service and prioritize human rights in all counter-terrorism endeavors to restore public trust in the international human rights framework.

New FINTRAC Guidance for Reporting Suspicious Transactions Comes into Effect

A new guidance (the “Guidance”) from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (“FINTRAC”), the national financial intelligence agency, came into effect on April 6, 2024, replacing former guidance entitled “What is a suspicious transaction report?” and “Reporting suspicious transactions to FINTRAC”. The Guidance discusses when and how to report suspicious transactions to FINTRAC under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (“the Act”) and associated Regulations.


​Read the April 2024 Charity & NFP Law Update