In some parts of the world such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and until recently Sri Lanka, it is almost impossible for humanitarian and aid organisations to provide assistance to communities without dealing through groups that some characterise as freedom fighters and independence movements, but that the US government calls terrorist organisations. And such groups are more often than not key negotiators in trouble spots.  But a US Supreme Court ruling handed down a few hours ago has now made it clear that if aid and relief workers do deal with such groups they could be charged with the serious offence of aiding a terrorist organisation.

In a 6-3 ruling, the court in Holder v Humanitarian Law Project has affirmed as constitutional an Obama Administration law that makes it a federal crime to "knowingly provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organisation".  These organisations include the PKK in Kurdistan and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.