A Syrian refugee boy sits on the ground at a temporary refugee camp, in the eastern Lebanese Town of Al-Faour, Bekaa valley near the border with Syria, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)
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Compliance inquiries and due diligence are standard precautions adopted by financial institutions prior to granting access to banking services, but NGOs operating in Lebanon say increasing restrictions due to security and terrorism concerns are jeopardizing their ability to deliver aid. While large, well-established organizations can better navigate mounting sanctions, smaller NGOs find themselves paralyzed by the bureaucracy. One NGO told The Daily Star it had changed its name to exclude the word "Syria," in the attempt to avoid some of these hurdles.NGOs are singled out as being particularly attractive to terrorists and therefore vulnerable to misuse.A report published in April by Chatham House confirmed soaring compliance requests received by U.K.-based NGOs operating in Syria and neighboring countries.R&R Syria said that the transfer of a grant sent to the organization in dollars from the U.K. was delayed due to OFAC's intervention.The Chatham House report detailed how different sanctions regimes in each country make licensing hard to procure and its functioning extremely complex.According to Schanzer, sanctions are an attempt by the U.S. to protect the integrity of the U.S. dollar as well as American citizens.
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