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

 


SRI LANKA: Resources Department Misleading Public

SRI LANKA: Department of External Resources Misleading Public on NGO Activities
July 24, 2014

A Statement from the Lawyers Collective in Sri Lanka forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Adding to a series of unconstitutional restrictions placed on the legitimate activities of the Non-Governmental Organizations, the Director General of the Department of External Resources (DGDER) has now published a Notice, "advising" the public on the legitimate activities of the NGOs. Having examined carefully the contents of the Notice, we state that the Notice is misleading and needs to be clarified. Lawyers Collective wishes to place the following facts and legal positions before the general public to dispel any possible misunderstanding or confusion caused by the said Notice.

a. The Notice suggests that the NGOs do not follow exchange control regulations, tax laws and various other statutes. However the government has so far failed to point out any instances of such violations by NGOs. We fully endorse that if any NGO has violated the normal law of the country, the law enforcement authorities should deal with such situations, following due process. In our view, this Notice has been made for a collateral purpose, as the Government could and will taken necessary actions, in the event any NGO or individual obtains or receives foreign aid in contravention of laws of Sri Lanka. However as of today, no such prosecutions have been initiated.

b. The DGDER has indicated that in terms of the Constitution, all foreign exchange receipts should come directly into the Consolidated Fund. This is a false statement intended to mislead the public. If this position is correct, there is no difference between the Government Finance and individual/non-governmental finance. In our view, any individual/organization is entitled to receive foreign funds directly through lawful channels for any lawful purpose and such receipts cannot not become part of the Consolidated Fund. The fact that all foreign funding or earnings are regulated under the Exchange Control Act does not convert such receipts into the Public Finance through the Consolidated Fund;

c. The Notice suggests that all development programmes should be in line with the national development framework of the Government, thereby not recognizing the right of individuals and organizations to engage in individual contributions to suit the society, community or for legitimate objectives, independent of the Government;

d. The Notice also refers to Financial Intelligence Unit of Sri Lanka (which is part of the Central Bank), Financial Transaction Reporting Act and Countering the Financial of Terrorism Act (DTF) etc unjustly suggesting that the receipt of foreign aid by NGOs is not fully disclosed. Each of those laws refers to its own scheme of operation, and there is absolutely no justification for the DGDER to make such vague and confusing statement. All NGOs are required, under respective accountability systems, to comply with the lawful regulatory mechanisms in the country and they receive foreign donations only through licensed commercial banks.

This Notice is yet another intimidatory tactic of the Government, manipulated outside the legal framework, to create suspicion in the minds of the general public on the pro-democratic positions taken by the NGOs as well as their contribution to uplift socio-economic status of the masses. There is overwhelming evidence to infer that the Government is planning, through its agencies such as military, to take control of civil society organizations and to make the advocacy programmes of NGOs ineffective. The Government is also taking extra judicial measures to thwart the regular contributions of the civil society to protect and promote human rights, democratic values and ideals in Sri Lanka. The Lawyers Collective requests the public not to be misled by misinformation campaigns by the Government, which is fast moving towards authoritarianism.

Lal Wijenayaka
Chandrapala Kumarage
JC Weliamuna

Conveners of Lawyers Collective

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news