Wednesday, August 22, 2007

USAID Rule Targets Terrorists But Hits NGOs

Oh dear. More friendly fire in the war on terror.

Passing along this e-mail from the Global Health Council.

See also this update on the proposed USAID rule change.

-----Original Message-----

From: Global Health Council
Subj: Urgent: USAID Proposes Rule Changes
Date: Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:23 pm

August 22, 2007 Global Health Council Opposes Implementation
of the Proposed Partner Vetting System at USAID

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) proposed a sweeping information-gathering and recordkeeping measure, the Partner Vetting System (PVS), to vet individuals, officers or other officials of nongovernmental organizations who apply for USAID contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, or other funding or who apply for registration with USAID as Private and Voluntary Organizations (PVOs).

The Partner Vetting System would require all organizations that apply for USAID contracts, grants and cooperative agreements to submit detailed information about each employee including full name, date and place of birth, government issued identification information, address, phone and fax numbers, country of origin and/or nationality, citizenship, gender and profession. The proposed measure was printed in the Federal Register on July 17. Notice, Privacy Act System of Records, Federal Register, Vol. 72, No. 136, July 17, 2007, Pages 39041-39044. View specific guidelines

The rule change was issued in an effort to improve processes for making sure that USAID funds are not being used to support activities or individuals "associated with terrorism." There is no evidence that USAID funds are supporting terrorist organizations or terrorist activities through NGOs.

The Council believes that the Partner Vetting System is overly burdensome for NGO partners, unnecessary, and compromises privacy rights and due process as envisioned. Please see the Council's Statement on PVS for sample language to include in your letter to the USAID Chief Privacy Officer. View statement

Please send your message opposing the Partner Vetting System as soon as possible. The deadline for comments is Aug. 27, 2007 - the same date PVS is scheduled to take effect.

Please address your message to:

Mr. Philip M. Heneghan
Chief Privacy Officer
United States Agency for International Development
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Office 2.12-003
Washington, D.C. 20523-2120


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