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New laws to tame NGOs

The government was planning to bring in new laws to make Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) pliable and muzzle any organisation which refused to fall in line, Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights (CHR), Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said yesterday.


Tennakoon said Minister Mano Ganesan had presented a Cabinet paper to amend the Voluntary Social Service Organisations (registration and supervision) Act and it had been approved.


“However, this was drafted without consulting us. The National Secretariat For Non-Governmental


Organisations has met the representatives of only the CSOs affiliated to the UNP before drafting the bill.Even people like Nimalka Fernando, Sudarshana Gunawardana and Vinya Ariyaratne, who acted as consultants to the advisory committee of the National NGO secretariat were kept in the dark.


Tennakoon said: “A number of CSOs have been critical of the government and exposed its misdeeds. Therefore, the government is attempting to silence those organisations by bringing in new legislation. The amendment will change the structure, the practices and the agreed norms of the existing Act in a bid to paralyse civil society organisations that do not do the bidding of the President, the Prime Minister and ministers.”

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