NGOs protest against new legislation

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 17 November 1998, 05:20 GMT]
More than 500 members of NGOs are to stage protest marches today against proposals to enact laws that allow the Social Services Ministry to interfere with the internal operational matters of NGOs and to have the power to dissolve the NGOs, said sources in Colombo.

NGOs contend that the new legislation will pose direct and indirect threat to democratic rights, sources said.

If a complaint regarding corruption or misuse of funds is made to the Social Services ministry, the Ministry can appoint a commission to investigate the complaint. The Commission will also have the power to dissolve the NGO, the sources claimed.

During the protest march at the Lipton junction in Colombo, a memorandum is to be submitted to the President and to the Social Services Ministry, requesting withdrawal of the proposals, sources said.

There will also be a meeting at 2 pm near the Mahaweli Station located at Ananda Kumaraswamy Mawatte, Colombo 7, condemning the proposed new legislation, said a representative of an NGO taking part in the demonstrations.

Sunantha Desapriya, Lawyer Punchihewa, Professor Jayadeva Uyangoda, Sunila Abeyasekera, and Malcolm Perera are functioning as key co-ordinators said sources close to the NGOs.

More than 500 local and foreign NGOs are currently working in various parts of the island.


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