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NGO's, Aid Industry and National Security
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Author:  Pubudu [ Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:20 pm ]
Post subject:  NGO's, Aid Industry and National Security

NGO's, Aid Industry and National Security
Sri Lankan conflict may be the wrong fight for you to promote your liberal egos

© 2006 Ministry of Defence , Sri Lanka
08 Nov 2006


International NGOs has become the natural target of the terrorist agents who shrewdly infiltrate in to the organizations and misuse immunity enjoyed by such organizations for the advantage of the terrorist outfits. The credibility, access and support of a Western organization with political clout all provide an excellent operating cover for someone who engaged in covert operations against a legitimate government.

NGO's whether local or international, have an important role to play in promoting democracy and human rights in any country. Thus, it is indeed an obligation of any government to support the operations of such democratic movements and institution as well as to guard them against any sort of intimidation, disturbances and most importantly, misappropriation of terrorist organizations.

The term non-governmental organization (NGO), in its broadest sense, is a non-governmental body that is not directly part of the structure of government. NGOs encompass the entire range of civil society: from lobbying for better health, protection of the environment, and advancement of education for all; to delivering humanitarian relief and securing and protecting basic civil and political rights. However, there are a huge number of such organizations and their goals cover a broad range of political and philosophical positions

In the Sri Lankan context, both international (INGOs) and local NGOs have been given a limitless freedom to carryout their operations without any governmental interference at all. The first Presence of NGOs in the island dates back to the British colonial period and ever since the number of NGOs as well as their activities has grown freely across the country. The total number of 95 INGOs and over 6000 NGOs are presently registered under the Ministry of Social Services and Social Welfare. The services rendered to the Sri Lankan people by these organizations are invaluable and highly commendable.

However, the globally growing body of work that probe into the underside of the "Aid Industry" alerts a new threat to the world that no government can ignore any longer. That is the misappropriation of Humanitarian agencies and NGOs by the terrorist organizations to pursue their violent causes.

International NGOs has become the natural target of the terrorist agents who shrewdly infiltrate in to the organizations and misuse immunity enjoyed by such organizations for the advantage of the terrorist outfits. The credibility, access and support of a Western organization with political clout all provide an excellent operating cover for someone who engaged in covert operations against a legitimate government.

Furthermore, these agents tend to hoodwink the foreign expatriates attached to the NGOs with falsehood and disinformation and divert the operations of the organization to support the terrorist causes. This has made many reputed NGOs to engage in actions to help, without understanding the full complexity and interplay of issues, resulting in doing more harm than good.

In this backdrop, the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has decided to setup a monitoring process of the activities of the INGOs operating in the Island. Recently, the Parliamentary Select Committee, appointed to report on activities of the NGOs and INGOs following its investigations, recommended the withdrawal of visas to four INGOs identified as MSS France, MSS Spain, MDM France and Doctors of the World USA. However, The Government of Sri Lanka has allowed the four international NGOs (INGOs) to stay in the country until the Police investigations are completed.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence has decided to issue a work permit for those expatriates attached to the NGO's and to maintain a database on the details of the employees both foreign and local at the ministry to ensure operations of the INGOs will not be hindered by the measures taken to safeguard the national security.

The only governmental interference to the operational of the NGOs so far was to require them to register at the Ministry of Social Welfare at the inception. Neither monitoring of their activities nor record keeping of their employees has ever been done by the government. It was expected that the management of the NGOs would be responsible enough take sufficient background checks when recruiting local staff and monitor their activities.

However, the growing evidence shows that the both NGO and INGO officials limits the backgrounds checks for the employees only for discovering their criminal past ignoring the possibility of political infiltration (by either government or anti-government personnel). Lack of such measures has even worsened into the situations where employees in certain INGOs were found fighting war against the security forces with the terrorists.

On the other hand, it is so unfortunate to see that certain foreign expatriates; like those who volunteered to join charities like Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation(TRO), in the height of the Tsunami saga and with the bentest of intentions - were becoming ignorant victims of the indirect LTTE propaganda and came to Sri Lanka only to realize that they are now affiliated to a terror organization. In addition, a few from that group defend the LTTE in defiance understandably not wanting to accept that they have made a potentially fatal career mistake.

It has been a normal tendency for many foreign expatriates attached NGOs as well as to those international media organizations operating in developing countries to come off as being sympathetic to anti government movement such as the LTTE.

Whilst it may be sometimes, appropriate to give moral support to 'revolutionists' who challenge the system, one must remain within a reasonable range of objectivity. Anyone familiar with the history of the LTTE will recall how they deliberately attacked civilian institutions killing scores of innocent men, women and children; and how everyone in villagers were hacked to death including pregnant women in their ethnic cleansing campaigns and how places of warships along with the entire villages were razed to the ground. To be fair, it should be accepted that none of the successive Sri Lankan governments could address the legitimate grievances of the minority Tamils sufficiently. Nevertheless, none of the worst crimes against Tamils ever came as orders from the government.

Under these circumstances, it has become imperative for the GoSL to monitor activities of the NGOs to some extent to ensure that their activities will not pose a threat to the national security. Yet, it should be noted that none of these measures taken by the government in no way would impede the activities of any NGO or INGO that act genuinely for the betterment of the people. On the other hand, the measures will support their activities by providing immunity for their employees over the tight security measures taken by the government.

A total number of 90 INGOs have been given work permits for their employees by the Ministry of Defense so far. Further, the ministry will monitor their projects for the compliance with the expressed missions of the organizations and notify any adverse reports received as well.

The following link shows details of the INGOs presently given work permits by the Ministry of Defence Sri Lanka. List of INGO

Finally, the defence.lk website requests all those liberal minded people and the sympathizers of the "revolutionists" to comprehend that it is the violence that funds the LTTE and help it to sustain. If the heinous crimes committed by the LTTE before the ceasefire is negligible we request you to consider the ceasefire violations count put out by the SLMM against the LTTE prior to exercise your rebellious, liberal clout and support those who you think are merely a trendy group of revolutionists who are fighting off some kind of an evil aggression. We also request you to think about all the civilians who have been murdered by them for merely having a different point of view and think of the generation of children who have been denied the basic rights and a chance to be liberal minds like yourselves. Please be cautious, the Sri Lankan conflict may be the wrong fight for you to promote your liberal egos.

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