Not On Our Watch, the humanitarian aid-focused charity, founded in 2008 by George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Don Cheadle, has received a funding boost of £400,000 from players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their The Sentry project. To announce the funding, George Clooney and John Prendergast, board members of Not On Our Watch and co-founders of The Sentry, have written an article focusing on the work that is carried out by the charity, and highlighting the impact of the funding from players.
The following piece was published in The Guardian on 20th February 2017:
Almost a year ago, the UK government convened a global summit to commit to fighting corruption. The final communiqué from the governments involved summed up their historic intentions: "We want to send a clear signal to the corrupt that they will face consequences internationally. We want to make it harder for them to travel and do business in our countries."
The time for sending signals is over. It is time to act against the kind of corruption that enables governments and armed groups especially in east and central Africa – the deadliest interlinked zone of conflict in the world – to prosecute wars and carry out mass atrocities.
Yet for too long the international community has failed to fully deploy the anti-money laundering measures, targeted sanctions and other tools of financial pressure at its disposal. These tools were developed to fight terrorism, nuclear proliferation and organised crime, and they have impact.
We formed The Sentry, an organisation which has established a team of analysts, regional experts and financial forensic investigators who follow the money to disrupt corrupt networks responsible for genocide or other mass atrocities in Africa. They focus on gathering the evidence that can enable law enforcement and banks to act. Used in the right way, this such information can create immense leverage for peace and human rights, as well as addressing the root cause of the massive refugee flows to Europe: the violent kleptocratic regimes that deny opportunities to their young people.
Our team is gathering the evidence needed, and thanks to funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we've hired senior, experienced investigators in London and Brussels to expand our work.
We believe a real difference can be made in ending wars in Africa and the mass atrocities that accompany them if we target those that are benefiting financially from the mayhem and suffering. The UK government and the broader European Union have critical roles to play in changing the deadly status quo.