18 September, 2021

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GO-NGO Pots And Kettles

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

The Government has taken some tentative steps to keep NGOs in check.  Although the big-names in the NGO fraternity have howled in protest, a careful reading of the directive issued by the NGO Secretariat clearly indicates that there’s been little more than reiteration of existing caveats pertaining to NGO activity.  Moreover, those with the shrillest objections do not even belong to NGOs that currently come under the purview of the Secretariat.  Only some 1400 NGOs are registered with the Secretariat while many times that number registered under the Company Act as well as other legal mechanisms for registration. 

The Government’s position is that NGOs cannot exceed mandates.  That’s fair enough.  The Secretariat states that the NGO Act will be amended to bring other outfits registered variously but not with the Secretariat under its purview.   Nothing wrong in that either.  Simply, if NGOs are required to submit activity plans for the year which can help the Secretariat monitor if mandates are not exceeded, ‘NGO-companies’ will not have to submit to similar scrutiny.

NGOs as well as the Opposition have objected to the Secretariat being housed within the Defence Ministry.  Why they remained silent until this ‘crack down’ is a mystery, but nevertheless they do have a point.  The only defence for the government is the fact that some NGOs have operated in ways that have raised serious questions about compromising national security, both during the time the LTTE existed militarily and after May 2009 too.  That however is not reason enough to have in place a blanket and high-handed policy on monitoring all NGOs.

No country can be faulted for taking precautions against elements that can compromise a hard won peace.  On the other hand one can easily go overboard with precaution.  Indeed it is a fine line between protecting country and safeguarding regime-interest.  That line is currently blurred and this blurring gives credence to some of the arguments against control. Not all objectors have the moral authority to cry foul however, given track records of aiding and abetting terrorism as well as complicity in well known destabilization efforts initiated by foreign governments.

What we are seeing from the side of the Government is what can be called early signs of direct control over the NGO sector.  A statement about monitoring, reiteration of existing rules and expression of intent in corralling all NGOs under one monitoring authority can be described as ‘long overdue’.  Indeed, many discussions on the NGO sector have called for that kind of streamlining.  NGOs have not helped their cause by acting as though the ‘non’ part of the acronym is equivalent to ‘anti’ and as such they are blessed with impunity, are above the law and entitled to do the ‘as we please’.  The current monitoring regime, some will argue, is rudimentary, full of holes and inadequate in ensuring that entities largely dependent on foreign funds and therefore beholden to uphold donor-agenda do not act in ways detriment to the national interest, including political stability and national security.

For all this, the most compelling argument against the current moves by the Government is the moral objection: a government and an institutional arrangement that thumbs its metaphorical nose at ‘mandate’ has no moral authority to demand that anyone, NGOs included, stick within mandate-parameters.

So we left with two entities, the apparatus of Governmental Organizations and that of the Non-Governmental Organizations, endowed with the right to point self-righteous fingers at each other.  Ironically, each accuses the other of being bad boys and girls when it comes to governance including transparency, accountability and flouting or circumventing established rules and procedures.  Both are recipients of ‘donor-dollars’ (or Euros or Yuan or whatever), both adept at double-speak, selective objection, shameless politicking and peopled with unscrupulous racketeers.  It’s all black.  It’s all about pots and kettles.

Indeed, we can conclude that strange as it may be, the two entities depend on each other.  If one were to correct itself the other would have to close up shop or at least have certain shops closed (like say the ‘Monitoring Unit’ if such exists within the NGO Secretariat).  It is hard to imagine that NGO bigwigs would welcome that kind of eventuality with wild applause.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

  • 12
    4

    There goes this idiot again: He has nothing serious to write about, only trash he produces!

    • 5
      2

      “The Government’s position is that NGOs cannot exceed mandates.”

      Booruwa,
      The main issue is why Ministry of Defense putting up laws overnight?
      Are we having a military state?

      • 4
        2

        Sumith;

        Please Do not insult to that Innocent Animal Donkey.
        It is better and so silent than all so called Lap top Jurnos.

        To Malindaaaaaaaaaaaaaa;

        If those N G Os Gives Commission of 30 % will your Bosses Give Up their howling.
        I have that feeling from the beginning of the Hora Talk of Mulana clan.
        You can Propose and have Cut from commissions paymants..

      • 2
        0

        sumit,
        Any gov. can act if it feels it’s security is threatened. That is the ultimate law. That is why the US went to war in Iraq. As you see now it is irrespective of the outcome.
        Though I don’t support corruption of the current gov. I support any laws that control activities of NGOs. Specially the foreign funded.

    • 8
      1

      .
      In Srilanka, if journalists can be bought for a laptop, NGO approvals can be easily get for a one week vacation package.

      :-)

    • 5
      1

      Malinda Seniviratna,

      “GO-NGO Pots And Kettles”

      Shills, White Washes Pots And Kettles very active to cover up.

    • 2
      1

      thiru,
      Without calling names point out the trash and say why he is an idiot. If not don’t respond with trash. Getting 8 thumbs up for your post which has zero value shows the intellectual capacity of you and your supporting separatists.

  • 3
    5

    It is the Renminmbi excuse me,

    And it is exclusively used to build Roads, Rail, Power Plants, Harbours, and Airports and make life a little easier for the great majority of the inhabitant population after the LTTE.

    In contrast, Euro, Kroner and the Diaspora Dollars are all funnelled through the NGOs to undermine every bit of Renminbi development, convert even Catholics to Born Again , to set up Gnanissara against the Muslim population and change the Regime.

    Is there any similarity? between the two?.

    Most NGO run Orphanages in Cambodia are used by sex tourists, according to the Age newspaper reports from Melbourne

    One of these Orphanage bosses was found to have 8 kids in his house to provide pleasure for the NGO volunteers who work there, as well as the Donors who come to visit them.

    This is even worse than the NGOs .who try to smuggle Arms and Ammunition and transport suicide cadres in their official vehicles.

    Isn’t it the responsibility of any decent Government to monitor and check these Organizations?…….

    • 2
      1

      KAS,
      You seem to be the only one here who post sense. None of the others want to discuss pros and cons of NGOs or what a governments can and can’t do to protect its sovereignty.

  • 4
    1

    WOW Malinda!! You deserve the government spokesman position under UPFA regime. Try to LICK as much as you can!!

    • 2
      1

      @ Bulath,

      Please don’t try create any problem or suggest any new names for that Post as there is a severe competition for that post.

      Keheliya Rambukwella, Ajith Rohana, Ruwan Wanigasoriya, Rajpal Abenayaka, Mohan Samaranayaka and lot of others already there for that post. Better [Edited out] will get the Post.

    • 1
      0

      You got it right, Malinda [Edited out]

  • 0
    1

    I see the usual We Thamizh intellectual giants are out with their cutting insults again :D LOL. You can always gauge how good an article is and whether it’s worth your time by how much they howl and holler in the comments – this one seems to be a must read :D

  • 0
    0

    Since most frontline NGOs are fully funded by neocons, they have become mere puppets designed to carry out an agenda for neocon interest, hence they must be severely controlled period.

  • 1
    0

    NGOs are there ti do stuff that government is not doing. That is thier mandate.

  • 0
    0

    Do these NGOs publish who their financiers, and what annual expenses etc., etc.?

  • 1
    0

    Malinda,

    As usual the dance is as per the tune of government.

    “No country can be faulted for taking precautions against elements that can compromise a hard won peace.”

    How sure you are with this statement.

    Don’t you think Mahinda Government soon after destroying LTTE, started another massacre and initiated another seed for next round of potential terrorist.

  • 0
    0

    Malinda is there to cover the Gotabe. Otherwise his job will be lost.

    Guys do not expect him to act to loos his job, he loves his job better than humanity.

  • 0
    0

    MMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, a free lap top make Milinda say such stupid things!

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