Colombo's NGO coordinator issues threats to freedom of association in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 07 November 2017, 23:08 GMT]
SL Government-operated NGO Secretariat is again threatening the local civil groups, NGOs and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) in Batticaloa district against taking part in the protests being organised by the kith and kin of the enforced disappeared, civil activists in the district said. Mr P.S. Sylvester, the chairman of the so-called Federation of Civil Organisations in Batticaloa District, an outfit recently launched by SL Minister Mano Ganesan's NGO Secretariat, is behind the intimidation. Colombo regime wants to completely dismantle the already functioning federation, which is known as I'naiyam.

Sylvester has also suspended the secretary of the group Mr T. Sivaloganathan from his duties until further notice.

In the meantime, he has sent a letter to SL Government Agent in Batticaloa urging the GA to officially scrap other umbrella groups such as I'naiyam.

Sinhala Government Agent of Trincomalee is currently serving as the acting GA for Batticaloa.

There are 54 registered NGOs operating in Batticaloa district. Of these, 7 NGOs are branches of International NGOs and 3 come under the UN System.

36 of these organisations are already organised under the independent I’naiyam.

The SL Government-run ‘federation’ of civil groups started to operate since 31 May, 2017.

Many of the CBO activists were involuntarily coerced to take part in the ‘federation’ move as they the move was coming from the ‘National Secretariat’, which regulates registration of NGOs, CBOs and civil groups.

The National Secretariat of NGOs was initially created as an advisory body in 1988 and was placed under the SL Ministry of Health and Social Services. It was defunct for a long time.

During the times of genocidal war, the SL State, especially former SL Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa took over the control of registration and the provision of permissions for NGOs to operate in the North-East.

Even the Rajapaksas didn’t go to the extent of drafting constitutions and running State-operated federations of local NGOs, CBOs and civil groups at the district-level of the occupied country of Eezham Tamils.


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