News

National Secretariat for NGOs to be given teeth

  • NGO-based malpractices to be independently probed

BY Pamodi Waravita

 

The National Secretariat for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) is to be transformed into a monitoring body that is empowered to conduct independent probes and file cases against malpractices carried out by NGOs, The Morning learnt.  

The subcommittee appointed to propose reforms to the National Secretariat for NGOs is expected to hand over its final draft to Secretary of Defence (Retd.) Major General Kamal Gunaratne by June this year.

Speaking to The Morning, National Secretariat for NGOs Director General Raja Goonaratne further explained that a complete overhaul of the Secretariat is expected.

“We hope to establish it as a strong monitoring body with more powers that would allow it to carry out independent investigations and to file cases in courts against malpractices carried out by NGOs,” Goonaratne added.

He noted that this was being done since the current regulations do not grant sufficient powers or authority to the Secretariat.

Meanwhile, a gazette released on 15 April banned 11 Islamist organisations allegedly linked to extremist activities. Commenting on this, Goonaratne noted that one such organisation had been registered at the district level, another had applied for registration, while the rest (nine) had not been registered with the Secretariat. All information regarding the matter has been handed over to the relevant authorities, he noted further.

Goonaratne also said that information on various organisations, which is necessary for national security-related purposes, is handed over on a daily basis to the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

He added, however, that since the Easter Sunday terror attacks in April 2019, less than 15 organisations have newly registered with the Secretariat.