I/NGOs decry government’s decision

Kathmandu, June 15

As many as 12 NGOs and civil organisations, including NGO Federation of Nepal, have said their attention has been drawn to the June 8 decisions of the Ministry of Home Affairs to tighten the noose on the I/NGOs operating in Nepal.

Issuing a joint press release, they said the government’s move was against the sentiment of the fundamental right provided for in Article 17 of the constitution, which guarantees the freedom to open organisations/associations. They claimed that it was also in contravention of the international covenants to which Nepal was a party.

“The government is trying to crack down on the I/NGOs by disregarding their contribution to the democratic movements of Nepal, protection of human rights, fight against superstition and overall development of the country. The move to curtail the fundamental freedom of civil organisations has put a question mark over the basic norms of democracy,” the release read.

It said the decisions to control the organisations, cancel their registration and asking I/NGOs to renew their registration ‘in an inappropriate time’ substantiate the government’s intention to shut down organisations working for social welfare. The organisations have also demanded that the government revoke a circular issued to all district administration offices in this regard.

On June 8, the MoHA and the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare had decided to tighten monitoring and regulation of I/NGOs operating in the country. Stating that anomalies had arisen in the activities of I/NGOs due to the lack of oversight by the government, a meeting held between Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa and Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizens Tham Maya Thapa had taken a decision to this effect.

As per the circular issued to the DAOs, they will have to monitor and regulate the activities of I/NGOs and submit their reports to the MoHA and MoWCSS. The government had also decided to serve a 15-day deadline for renewal of the I/NGOs that have not renewed their registration for the past three years.

“If the I/NGOs are not renewed within the stipulated time-frame, their registration will be automatically revoked,” the decision paper issued by the MoHA stated.

Though around 47,000 NGOs and 200 INGOs are registered with the Social Welfare Council under the MoWCSS, many of them have not renewed their registration for years, the MoHA claimed. The government has also decided not to renew the registration of I/NGOs involved in corruption, political activism and conversion.