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The impacts of AML/CFT regulations on civic space and human rights

by Transparency International

Published | April 2021

Monitoring civic space


This Helpdesk brief explains the negative consequences of AML/CFT regulations by authorities on civic space and human rights.

Why read

The brief helps civil society and human rights actors to understand implications of AML/CFT law on civic space, providing examples where AML/CFT regulations supported the justification of restricting civic space measures.


The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief shows the unitended consequences of AML/CFT laws on civic space and human rights. Civic space and human rights have been under assault across the world, and, in some settings, AML/CFT regulations have played a major role in legitimising and providing justification for these measures at the domestic level.

Measures taken under the guise of AML/CFT regulations include heavy restrictions on CSOs’ ability to register, operate, and access resources, as well as direct measures against specific CSOs, such as audits, investigations, prosecution, de-registration, closure and expulsion.


1. Overview of AML/CFT’s impact on civic space and human rights

a. Civil society’s role in countering terrorism and money laundering

b. Rising concerns about AML/CFT regulation abuse

2.FATF’s law-making process

a. Domestic repercussions

3. FATF and NPOs

a. Actual risks

b. De-risking

c. Restrictions on foreign donations

4. References


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