US State Dept. gets involved in drafting local NGO law

US State Dept. gets involved in drafting local NGO law

The U.S. State Department has sought to intervene in the drafting of Sri Lanka’s new piece of legislation that, if enacted, will provide for the registration of both local and international NGOs in the country, a top source said yesterday.

The final draft of the law titled ‘Non-governmental Organizations (Registration and Supervision) Bill is now pending with the Attorney General for certification before being announced in the gazette notification and then presented to Parliament for enactment. At the moment, there are 1,786 registered NGOs operating at national level, 1,636 at district levels and 38,524 at divisional levels.

The new law will provide for the registration of all the NGOs under one body to be set up. A top source familiar with the process told the Daily Mirror that the U.S. State Department sent in some recommendations to be incorporated in the proposed local bill including some clauses in the freedom of association. “In our bill, we had some restrictions in this regard. We incorporated recommendations from the US which calls for freedom of association,” the source said.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu, during his recent visit to Sri Lanka, met with the representatives and sought, among others, a general overview of the possible implications of the proposed law.

US advocates for transparent, inclusive lawmaking in Sri Lanka – Embassy spokesman

In response to Daily Mirror query, a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Colombo yesterday said the United States continues to join likeminded partners in advocating publicly and privately to Sri Lankan government and civil society partners for an open, consultative process in which the government drafts legislation that reflects full stakeholder input and international best practices, and that does not stifle freedom of association or expression.

courtesy dailymirror