PSC’s observations on selected NGOs



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by C.A.Chandraprema


In the course of their deliberations, the Parliamentary Select Committee on NGOs made certain observations on selected organisations which we publish below. It should be borne in mind that the interim report of the PSC on NGOs was signed by the UPFA, the UNP and the JVP


National Peace Council


It is reported that the National Peace Council too is a Non Governmental Organization operating to propagate federalism. An Organizer of the National Peace Council once attended a protest in Geneva and also made a speech at a rally held later which ended with the singing of the song of emancipation of the LTTE together.


This organization which questions the need for sovereignty has spoken about a sovereignty divided into two and of two very close countries. The National Peace Council has engaged in a movement to brainwash the people of Sri Lanka, which is very similar to the activities of the Burghof Foundation. They have acted very enthusiastically in promoting federalism.


International Alert


International Alert which has been banned for working with rebels of Sierra Leon carried out their activities here in a way that abetted separatism. They had cited the following, as reason for Tamils taking to arms; Declaration of `Sinhala' as the official language in 1957, alienating land and creating Sinhala colonies in the North and East, re-demarcating the areas where the majority of population are Tamils and the violation of the human rights of Tamils with state sponsorship following the killing of 13 soldiers by the LTTE in 1983.


International Alert has published a map showing half the country as belonging to Tamils. In this map they have marked a large area of land in the central hills and in the south as Tamil areas. This map is even larger than the map prepared by the LTTE.


Threats to National Security


The Ministry of Defence has received credible intelligence reports with regard to the activities of the following non-governmental organizations. These organizations have dared to act in a way that threatened National Security and state policies.


M.S.F. – France (Medicine Sans Frontiers)


M.S.F. – Spain (Medicine Sans Frontiers ) not registered


M.D.M. – France (Medicine du Monde)


Doctors of the world – (U.S.A.)


The non-governmental organization which met at the office of MSF (France) located at Narahenpita vehemently criticized the policies followed by the Department of Immigration and Emigration in issuing visas and discussed a programme of getting the LTTE to send threatening letters as a solution. The Ministry of Defence, having considered this as a very grave issue, even went to the extent of banning the issue of visas.


At a health education project in Sampur, Medico Del Monde, MDM (Spain) issued a certificate to one R. S. Seetha, who participated at the event on voluntary basis, with the emblems of the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to which carried the signatures of the Chief of the project and Dr. Warman, Medical Services Paddalipuram. These activities reveal how these non governmental organizations have acted regarding the sovereignty, unity and the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.


Accessing the Police


The PSC noted the entry of a non-governmental organization to the police department, the main arm of security in Sri Lanka. In terms of a Memorandum of Understanding entered into by Transparency International based in Germany with Norad, a Norwegian organization, a project had been carried out to look into the functioning of the Police Department of Sri Lanka with funding amounting US $ 79,000 from Norad and a report titled "The Police of Sri Lanka" had been presented.


The report contains a chapter on corruption and fraud in the police department. The committee concluded that carrying out such projects on the police directly connected to national security itself was a testimony to the fact that they were constantly on the watch to find an opportunity to intervene in the internal affairs of the country. They also used this information to project the image that Sri Lanka is a failed state.


The PSC was concerned that an opportunity to carry out a project of this type with a major institution responsible for the national security of the country would provide a non governmental organization with access to confidential information with regard to national security.


The organization stated that their objective in carrying out this project was to develop the department of police and not to access intelligence information. High ranking police officers expressed different views in this regard and stated that this opportunity was not used to introduce reforms to the department or to minimize malpractices. The former Inspector General of Police stated that he was not in agreement with all the findings of the project. A retired Deputy Inspector General of Police testifying before the Committee said the matters relating to the other institutions should have been investigated before the findings of this investigation was made public. The committee had to question Transparency International about their integrity as they furnished incorrect information about how they had obtained the approval to commence this project.


The committee also concluded that the procedure followed by high ranking officials in the police department in giving permission to carry out this project was inappropriate.


The conclusion of the committee was that in granting approval to implement projects, the high officials of the Sri Lanka Police should have been more vigilant.


Norad, which is noted for aiding separatist activities in the country launched this project through non-governmental organizations, spending large amounts of money. It was the opinion of the Committee that while negative attitudes towards the organization were generated by its exaggeration of weaknesses of the state agencies providing security to the state, the space created by the project for the flowing out of internal information through the involvement in non-governmental organizations in activities of this nature could not be underestimated.


The effect on separatism and the security of the country by the activities conducted in the northern and eastern areas, on the part of the non-governmental organizations that have gained access to those areas on the pretext of providing humanitarian aid and rehabilitation were subjected to the scrutiny of the committee.


ZOA Refugee Care Netherlands


Allegations were put forward to the effect that representatives of this organization had supported the LTTE, which operated as a terrorist organization in the north east. The officer in charge of the Police Special Task Force in Ampara giving evidence before the PSC said that there was an LTTE military complex in the area called Kanjikudichchi Aru in Ampara, and that no one without the cooperation of the LTTE could carry out humanitarian development activities in the area, and goods belonging to ZOA carrying its logo had been found from the area. He further stated that ZOA had provided latrines, wells and school bags and that a name board which carries the expression "constructed by ZOA" in the Tamil language was available in front of the "Thilipan" Medical Centre. These facts were substantiated by presenting video clippings of temporary tents, electricity generators, food bags and water barrels containing logos of non governmental organizations such as the UNHCR. World Vision, UNICEF and the World Food Programme.


Although ZOA has stated that the Thilipan Medical Centre was repaired with the approval of the government, the Divisional Secretary of Thirukkovil stated before the PSC that no record exists in his office to the effect that such an approval had been obtained.


A letter sent in May 2005 by a project Manager of ZOA addressed to an LTTE member named T Roshanthan inviting him to participate in a communication and leadership programme, was also submitted to the Committee. The evidence of the Senior Superintendent of Police revealed that 400 houses had been constructed by ZOA and World Vision and they had been distributed among Mahaviru families of the dead LTTE cadres. Accordingly, ZOA was summoned before the PSC for examination and the committee decided that ZOA had maintained a direct links with the LTTE, a separatist organization and provided support to it directly and indirectly.


(To be continued)


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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