World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Foreign Contributions setback for Civil Society in Pakistan

Foreign Contributions Bill: Another setback for Civil Society in Pakistan

3 March 2014 - Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS, and the Pakistan Development Alliance (PDA) express strong reservations about the proposed Foreign Contributions Bill to regulate international funding for civil society activities in Pakistan.

"The overall environment in the country is already punitive to the working of NGOs and civil society voices,” said Zia ur Rehman, National Representative of the Pakistan Development Alliance. “The proposed legislation would further instigate the undesirable bureaucratic actions against civil society organisations. When five different laws already exist to control and regulate the sector, we must ask ourselves whether we need another one.”

National and international civil society organisations will be required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission if they utilise more than 50 million Pakistani Rupees (approximately USD 470,000) received from abroad in a financial year. The application process for registration subjects organisations to enhanced control and supervision by government agencies, requiring a memorandum of understanding for International NGOs with the Federal Government and the need to provide details of various projects and programme activities, including geographical locations. Registration for receiving foreign contributions is subject to renewal every five years and can be cancelled in the “public interest” which is not defined in the bill. Officials are empowered to conduct special audits and inspect records of accounts of organisations ‘for reasons to be recorded’ under the bill. A prison sentence of up to six months, and/or fine can also be given to those who provide false information, while any person who conceals or assists any person in concealing utilisation of foreign funding without registration may receive up to a year in prison.

“The bill opens up the possibility of harassment from the executive arm of the state if they do not like the activities or mandate of a particular civil society organisation or international NGO,” said Mandeep Tiwana, Head of Policy and Research at CIVICUS. “There is a high likelihood that the bill’s provisions will be used to silence outspoken independent groups, and also prevent them from working in ‘sensitive’ geographical locations. At this point, there is a need to build not deplete the capacity of civil society in Pakistan.”


As highlighted by CIVICUS in the past and in the recommendations made to Pakistan at its Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council in 2012, civil society groups in Pakistan operate under extremely difficult circumstances, and are in need of support and protection by the state.

CIVICUS urges the government of Pakistan to (i) reconsider the Foreign Contributions Bill in light of the provisions enshrined in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders which guarantees civil society organisations the right to solicit, receive and utilise resources domestically and from abroad, (ii) guarantee an “enabling environment” for civil society to operate as agreed in the Busan Partnership for Development Effectiveness at the 4thHigh Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Peace Deal ‘first Step’ In Resolving South Sudan Crisis

Children at a protection of civilians site in Juba, South Sudan, run by the UN Mission, perform at a special cultural event in March 2015. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine More>>

Yemen: Killing Or Maiming An Average Of Eight Children A Day

Killing or maiming an average of eight children a day, ‘brutal’ Yemen conflict must end – UNICEF More>>

Changing Habits/behaviours Key To Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy can be caused by factors such as negative beliefs based on myths, misinformation. Fear of needles can be a factor for refusal. Photo: PAHO/WHO More>>

Burundi: Ban Condemns Assassination Of Senior Army Officer

Refugees from Burundi in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Photo: OCHA/Naomi Frerotte United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the assassination Burundi’s former Army Chief of Staff, Colonel Jean Bikomagu, who ... More>>

Deadly Industrial Explosions In Northern China

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and the injuries to scores of people as a result of deadly explosions in Tianjin, China. More>>

UN Urges Action To Tackle Deepening Refugee Crisis In Greece

A group of Syrian refugees arrive on the island of Lesbos after travelling in an inflatable raft from Turkey, near Skala Sykaminias, Greece. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell More>>

Probe Into Those Responsible For Chemical Weapons In Syria

The US Vessel Cape Ray, on which all 581 metric tonnes of a precursor chemical for sarin gas were removed from Syria and safely destroyed as the ship sailed in international waters in 2014. Photo: US Dept. of Transportation More>>

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news