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

 


BANGLADESH: Big Brother Law for NGOs on the anvi l

BANGLADESH: Big Brother Law for NGOs on the anvi l

The Bangladesh government wants to quash human rights activism. The cabinet has approved the "Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulations Bill, 2014", which will likely become law soon. The Bill empowers bureaucrats to decide the fate of NGOs and voluntary activities. All individuals or collectives, from NGO's to volunteer groups, receiving foreign funds for implementing projects will be under constant surveillance under this law.

The law will usher even more arbitrary executive actions in Bangladesh. The Bill, in its current form, empowers bureaucrats to grant registration to NGO's on the basis of 'satisfaction' and suspend, cancel, or disband registration for alleged 'irregularities' in any project implemented by the NGO. There is no scope for challenging the government's decision before any court.

On the other hand, the government will be able appoint administrators to sue persons linked to targeted entities. The Secretary to the Office of the Prime Minister will decide the 'appeal' of an aggrieved entity within 30 days. The decision of the Secretary will be final.

Section 19 takes the cake. "For the fulfilling the purpose of this law, the government, by Gazette Notification, can promulgate rules: provided that unless the rules are made, the government, when necessary, by general or special orders, in compliance with this law, can take any action and can execute any order under this law", reads the section. It leaves no doubt about the NGO purge that awaits Bangladesh.

To achieve its ends, the Bill seeks to attribute all related power to the Director General (DG) of the NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB), a wing under the Office of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The entire set of executive administrative officers – from the Upazilla Nirbahi Officer (UNO), the chief executive officer at the sub-district level, to the regional Divisional Commissioner, will be given the authority to inspect, monitor, and evaluate the activities of NGOs. These executive officers will be empowered to visit NGO offices from time to time and conduct monthly coordination meetings for evaluating activities.

Big Brother is set to enter NGOAB, which has so far been ruled by corruption and politicisation, being as it is a part of the state apparatus. The Prime Minister's schizophrenic desires, 'save this one' and 'off with that head', will be honoured by bureaucrats under this law. As it is, the government and the judiciary, which is just another tool in the hands of the government, have been constantly harassing local and international human rights defenders, organisations, and professionals. Now bureaucrats will join the party.

The patterns of recent harassment indicate that this law will be both used and abused against human rights organisations. Those reluctant to compromise with the regime will be crushed. Those with allegiance to the regime will be further trained to hit the right tune when more gross rights violations occur. The little knowledge creation in Bangladesh will be restricted further, as the Bill seeks to ban foreign funding even for autonomous bodies, such as universities.

The Bill has elicited a curious response in Bangladesh. Certain 'elite' members of civil society in Bangladesh are aggrieved about the inclusion of individuals under the control of the NGOAB in the Bill, as this will, apparently, hurt their lucrative consultancies. However, the repression the law will unleash across the nation appears to be beyond comprehension.

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