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Friday, September 17, 2021

Sri Lanka: Crackdown on NGOs and INGOs: Guidelines from District Secretaries

The Government has begun a crackdown on non-governmental organisations, both foreign and local, by urging them to cut down on programmes they are now engaged in.

The first salvo has already been fired in the Mullaitivu District where NGOs have been asked “minimise” programmes such as women empowerment, child rights, youth training, human rights, land rights training, formulation and strengthening of self-help groups.

Mullaitivu District Additional Secretary K. Kanakeshwaran has told all international and local non-governmental organisations that they should now embark on “social and economical programmes in the district.” He has set out eleven different areas:

  • Renovation of tanks
  • Renovation of agriculture roads
  • Construction of rural
  • access roads
  • Construction of wells for the vulnerable people
  • Repairing and deepening of wells
  • Construction of temporary shelters to the Indian returnees
  • Supply of Agriculture inputs
  • Livelihood support to women-headed families and families of missing persons
  • Preschool development programmes
  • Supply of equipment to disabled people
  • Supply of healthy food for pregnant mothers, lactating mothers and preschool children of rural villages.

NGOs and INGOs have been told that the Secretariat will not approve any action plan which does not contain “less than 70 %” of the guidelines set out.

A government source said similar instructions are to be sent out by other Districts Secretariats.

The Mullaitivu District is one of the areas where substantial work is being carried out by NGOs and INGOs.

One INGO representative, who did not wish to be identified, declared that they might be forced to cut back on their involvement. “It is our principals who identify the projects and programmes. It is only thereafter that they provide us the money. It is not within our writ to deal with matters beyond our purview.”

ST

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