News of NGOs, NGO News, Social News

Kenya NGO Struggle Continues At ICC – AllAfrica.com

The StarKenya NGO Struggle Continues At ICCAllAfrica.comKenya is high on the agenda of the meeting of the Assembly of States Parties in The Hague, and NGOs and the Kenyan government are openly battling it out. "It's a war", said one African NGO representative. That might be a slight exaggeration of exactly …Let's Classify NGOs As Foreign AgentsThe Starall 18 news articles »
Source: Google NGO News

Not enough shelters for battered women, NGO reports – The Times of Israel

The Times of IsraelNot enough shelters for battered women, NGO reportsThe Times of IsraelThere are currently 14 shelters for battered women in Israel, No to Violence said in its report, and the number of women rejected due to lack of space throughout the country exceeds 1,000. The NGO compared the number of shelters in Israel, relative to …
Source: Google NGO News

Kuwaiti man fosters social engagement through NGO work – The National

The NationalKuwaiti man fosters social engagement through NGO workThe NationalTo this end, he founded the NGO en.v in 2008. That was two years after he had set up the branding company El Boutique Creative Group and realised he wanted to have a more direct influence on society than simply “creating content for consumption”.
Source: Google NGO News

RTI is a weapon for citizen facing arbitrary power, needs to be protected, taken further.

Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey
(Social activists and founder members of the NCPRI)

Today, India celebrates 10 years of the practice of the right to information. In this decade, this law, one critical to Indian democracy, has established the citizen’s right to make informed choices, not just once every five years, but every single day. Governments at the Central and state levels have been forced to concede to the democratic principle of sharing power. An estimated five to eight million applications are filed every year, making it clear how popular the law is. The more than 45 RTI users who have been killed bear testimony to just how much the act threatens vested interests. In posterity, those studying governance in independent India will be able to mark the patterns of a pre- and post-RTI era. It is, therefore, important to understand the immense contribution of the ordinary Indians who battled for years to get the entitlement and, since 2005, to implement the law.

Powerful and relevant local struggles can organically grow into national movements that enrich democratic practice. The demand for information was brilliant in its simplicity. People honed it locally on the nerve centers of unaccountable power. These demands for details of expenditures on roads, of life-saving medicines in hospitals, of disappearing rations, sent shockwaves through the establishment and shook the foundation of bureaucratic governance. The RTI has proved its efficacy from the panchayat to Parliament. Cutting through red tape and bureaucratic prevarication, it has exposed entrenched vested interests in policymaking and implementation, and undermined officials’ impunity in perpetuating both grand and mass corruption.

The modes of putting information to use in the public domain have been equally important. Jan sunwais evolved as a form of public accountability from a historic first hearing held in the village of Kotkirana in Pali district on December 2, 1994. The process of sharing information initially obtained through informal means and publicly verifying the evidence with local citizens galvanised people. The opposition grew in proportion, as when panchayat officials went on strike against transparency and public audits and elected representatives gave them support. It became clear that accessing information would need a sustained struggle and campaign.

The campaign built an effective and popular discourse on the right to information, using slogans and songs to articulate and communicate. The slogan “hamara paisa, hamara hisaab” powerfully asserted people’s ownership over public money and resources. The late Prabhash Joshi highlighted another slogan in his editorial in the Jansatta in 1996, “hum janenge, hum jiyenge (the right to know, the right to live)”. The RTI so defined was seen and used as a transformative right.

The straightforward logic of the struggle and campaign drew diverse groups into articulating the demand for a law. A 40-day dharna in Beawar in April 1996 led to the formation of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI). Set up with the twin objectives of drafting the law and supporting the use of the RTI by citizens’ groups, it circulated the first draft with the support of the Press Council of India in 1996. State laws began to be enacted in 1997, and continued to be in force till the national law was passed in 2005.

The enactment of the RTI not only inspired a spate of other rights-based laws, but also embedded transparency and accountability within them. The structural design of social audits derived from public audits, or jan sunwais, is becoming a systemic part of democratic governance. Earlier this year, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India declared that social audits will be a part of the formal audit process. The mode of social audits is also spreading to other parts of the world.

The RTI has been India’s most powerful “weapon of the weak”, enabling citizens everywhere to question and hold to account the legislature, executive and judiciary.

They have exposed misdeeds by governments across the board, in the delivery of basic services, in land and mining, as well as grand corruption in arbitrary contracts, like in the allocations of 2G spectrum and coal blocks.

With the current attack on rights-based laws and that framework, there are difficult times ahead. The few instances of obvious “misuse” by blackmailers and eccentrics have been blown out of proportion in an attempt to discredit the RTI. Governments have excelled in delays and manipulations in appointing information commissioners. The consensual (informal) decision by all political parties to ignore the orders of the information commission mandating their inclusion under the RTI has exposed the degree to which the establishment can go to brazenly undermine the rule of law.

At one level, there is a sense of wonder that the law was enacted at all, defying prophecies that a corrupt system would never allow self-exposure. The truth is that the RTI did manage to build some statesmanship, and a consensus outside and in Parliament. Notwithstanding the implementation roadblocks, it is internationally acclaimed as amongst the strongest RTI laws in the world.

The end of the first decade sees the RTI movement poised to fight battles for accountability — the passage and implementation of the grievance redress, whistleblowers’ protection and Lokpal legislation. The unfulfilled potential of people’s participation in the pre-legislative consultative process awaits parliamentary sanction. The unfinished promise of proactive disclosure under Section 4 of the RTI Act,
the pendency in the commissions, the ever-looming threat of amendments, must keep the campaign alert to attacks to dilute the impact of the law.

“RTI laga denge (we will file an RTI application)” has become one of the most popular refrains of the frustrated Indian facing the arbitrary exercise of power. In fact, it needs to be taken further. Much eventually depends on an alert and vocal people.

The encouraging sign is that it seems like the argumentative Indian, who is now speaking truth to power, cannot and will not be gagged.

(Indian Express)

Central Govt. is making RTI ineffective: Aruna Roy

Social activist Aruna Roy has accused the Centre of questioning the RTI activists who were invited to attend a one-day seminar to mark the 10 years of RTI in New Delhi on Friday. Roy flayed the government officer’s intention for asking questions like what is your ideology? Your leanings are with which political party? Are you affiliated with any political party? What is you take on the new Central government? The activists were questioned while they were entering to attend the RTI programme.

“Even asking them about their family background indicates the Central government’s move to repress the activists,” said Roy while addressing a press conference in Jaipur. She said that government is scared of the fact that 80 lakh activists across the country are using this RTI right committed to bring transparency and good governance.

“Possibly the government is perturbed over the manner in which these RTI activists are coming up with the information making them uncomfortable,” said Roy who further accused the Central government of bringing changes in the Act to make it ineffective.

Notably, Roy along with other senior RTI activists had boycott the conclave in protest of inviting just seven activists while ignoring many seniors on October 15. When Roy was asked the reason for boycott, she said, “Out of 80 lakh activists, they had invited just seven while ignoring many others who represent different regions and bodies to get the holistic picture in the RTI conclave. Secondly, the manner in which intelligence bureau officers visited the place of those invited and questioned them clears their intention to influence the activists,” said Roy.

Another activist, Megha Patkar, who was also present in the press conference, expressed her concern over the rising religious intolerance, communal discords and corruption cases. “The open endorsement of mob violence and killings of writers by the leaders of the incumbent party is further threatening the situation. The statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Dadri incident was very late and weak which in unacceptable,” said Patkar adding that people of Rajasthan especially of Jalore and Barmer who are awaiting bare minimum water from the Narmada dam will come at the cost of 2.5 lakh rural people displacement.

“Modi government is violating norms to increase the height of the dam so that water can be given to corporates,” said Patkar who also urged the youths of Rajasthan to support the former MLA Girusharan Chabra indefinite hunger strike demanding complete ban on liquor in the state.

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(Source: TOI)

Teresa’s Charity can be de-recognised, not complying the adoption guidelines

NEW DELHI. Central Government could de-recognise 13 orphanages run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity after it refused to give children up for adoption to single, divorced or separated people.

Women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi said that the charity was not complying with the adoption guidelines, leaving the government with no option but to de-recognise them.
She said that they have cited ideological issues with our adoption guidelines related to giving a child up for adoption to single, unwed mothers. She said that they have their own agenda and now when they have to come under a unified secular agenda, they are refusing it.

The NDA government guidelines notified by the WCD ministry in July made adoption rules more stringent. The Missionaries of Charity has refused to comply with the provisions related to adoptions by single, separated or divorced people.

Menaka said the Missionaries of Charity had itself written to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), an autonomous body under the ministry that regulates adoptions, seeking de-recognition of 13 of its orphanages. She also said that Government is trying and persuading them because they are valuable, good people and have experience. But if they do not follow the central guidelines, we will be left with no option but to de-recognise the orphanages run by them and shift the children to other places.

A Missionaries of Charity person said, “We are stopping adoption. We have written to CARA.” But Missionaries of Charity refused to say why the charity was taking this step.
When CARA received complaints from two prospective single parents from Assam and Bihar then this action is taken.

(Source: Hindustantimes)

Action against 13000 NGOs is to gain political popularity by ruling Government

“Still some criminals and their supporters are still misusing social funds, resources and money in NGOs but Government is not taking action and not interested to. Ruling central Government and its supporter corporates only want to just make environment against NGO concept to gain complete power over governance of country so creating such scenerio.”

In India Government disapprove license and recognition of 4470 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in addition to the 8875 NGOs’ licenses were revoked for violation of the rules on foreign funds. The action taken against the NGOs who are violating the rules and guideline of Government in not new but Central Government wants a popularity to spread this as ‘news’ widely that it is taking action such NGOs like Greenpeace and Ford Foundation who are providing foreign fund to change and affect the political condition in India.
Taking action against such foreign funding based NGOs and funding agencies may be right in some way because there was a interpretation in the political activities by the foreign funding in India. But on the other hand maximum of the NGOs are not taking part in such ‘activities’ as the Government has taken action against few NGOs for misusing (according to the Government) foreign funds for political purpose.

Apart from taking action against such NGOs who are part of the activity that Central Government is taking action on foreign interference in India politics, there is lot of other malpractices are being made by some NGOs misusing the foreign funds for personal and business purpose. There are many complaints against such NGOs who are misusing foreign funds and using it personally in-spite of social purpose, but Government agencies, Home Ministry, Income tax department, police department and other related authorities have not taken any action against the financial offenders. So it is very clear that Government has not changed its system against corruption (as claimed before) in its departments and it is not improved real action pattern against such matters. So to provide notices in FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) violation matter it is just a stunt publicity to gain popularity in ‘Rashtrwadi’ voters, targeting the further elections of some north Indian states. If Central Government and its bureaucracy is really honest to take action against violation of rules then they must take action against such NGOs and persons who are running these NGOs where they are misusing the funds for personal purpose.
Out of the 20 lakh NGOs very few are in working condition. Among these working NGOs many of them are certainly questionable, they are not transparent, not democratic and using money for business and making personal assets. Some of the NGOs are using money for real and declared purpose. Government is not taking action against such criminals and their supporters who are not following certain laws and rules and fraudly making money that they are getting in the name of their NGOs. Just making a propaganda against (all) NGO just due to ‘concept, concern and action of NGO related persons’ the ruling party lost its position in Delhi election. Some political supporters of the ruling party are against NGO sector and NGO concept just due to this reason that they had loost in Delhi. One thing must be clear that if anyone or NGOs speak in favour of society, welfare, development and on improvement of social situation and society that means are they wrong? The ruling party is making such circumstances that NGO or NGO pattern is wrong. The persons won in Delhi election and came in ruling of Delhi they are transparent and honest on their part, if some one were wrong, they lost. The persons emerged and are in Delhi ruling never supported them, as the Central ruling party is supporting many offenders those have equal offenses of some political persons who went in jail or under prosecution.
One thing must be clear that the NGO persons, members, activists, political persons, religious persons, saints, government officials, judiciary persons and all are from the society where we exits, so it is obvious that the character of the persons in all sectors including NGO is developed and based on the situation of the society. The character of the persons emerged out of the society for various sectors and departments can be unfair, fair or completely fair. So how only NGOs are being identified as part of this wrong practices, in this reference what about police, judiciary, media, political, religious and other persons in different sector? Same, so if the persons in a sector are honest the part of that sector will improve otherwise it will not. So like the situation of the system it is required to change it in a positive way, and NGOs are not exception of this process. Still there are many NGOs and many activists working in positive way and in positive patters on that basis our society is moving towards right direction. Specially the persons from new generation are more positive in this positive process to improve the society. So fair NGO concept is acceptable concept for the change makers of society.
Participation of NGOs in development work in India is negligible. Share of development assistance in comparision to other countries is less in India. But the main factor is that many of these NGOs involved in activities that are essential for the survival of our democracy, such as holding governments and institutions accountable and defend the rights of marginalized and voiceless people. NGO are part of the ideas to strengthen democratic governance. In India there is a group of some corporates and politicians who want to establish their control over economy through ruling they are defaming the NGO sector to make their way clear so they can move ahead to complete ruling and governance.
In India there is a limited civil society space, and in the process to get total control over governance and principles of democracy, such as participation, human rights, transparency and accountability they do not want to emerge the NGO concept. In this way India will be like the countries such as Saudi Arabia, black holes are human rights, because there is no space for civil society. NGOs in India have an important role in maintaining situation of the socio-economic and human right issues. Most of the foreign funds provided to NGOs in India is for financial improvement and upliftment of livelihood of poor and marginalised Indians, so nothing is wrong to get it and use it for the said purpose in society. And in some human rights and democratic value issues the persons working with or running the NGOs take participation in human rights and other democratic and ethical rights issue nothing is wrong on political part. If it is not explained and taken on that part where some opposition party or parties are supported by some particular foreign funding groups then it must be increased transparently as the priority of the head of ruling team of Government is to improve the condition of India in global context.
(Analysis by: Ritu Raj)

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