Human Rights Watch (HRW) yesterday criticised the Bangladesh government for its move to control the activities of the NGOs.
In a statement released early today, the New York-based rights body urged the international donors to put pressure on the government to ensure the NGO sector can work without unnecessary interference from the government.
“The Bangladeshi government increasingly acts as though it is interested in controlling the NGO sector to a minute level detail, which will only stifle the activities of the civil society,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW.
The Awami League regularly claims that it is the only political party that will protect democracy and pluralism in Bangladesh, but its attempts to control NGO activity call this into serious question, he mentioned.
Many NGOs, noted the release, have reported corruption in the NGO Affairs Bureau and in various ministries and local government offices.
The NGO Affairs Bureau in the Prime Minister’s Office often simply rejects any requests for registration or project proposals on arbitrary grounds, at times for apparently political reasons.
Adams said instead of setting up a commission to breathe down the necks of the NGOs, the government should set up a commission to investigate the alleged epidemic of corruption in the NGO Affairs Bureau and other government agencies.