Friday, November 25, 2011
The government is not restricting the activities of NGOs and civil society organisations, rather co-operating with them, said Gowher Rizvi, foreign affairs adviser to the prime minister, yesterday.
It is framing a law to regulate the NGOs, not to obstruct their work, said Rizvi at a programme at the city’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
International NGO (INGO) Forum Bangladesh organised the programme to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the country’s independence as well as four decades of its engagement in the development of Bangladesh.
“We are partners. Why would a partner work against another …. The government’s strength depends on the civil society,” Rizvi said. It is completely a wrong perception that the government is obstructing civil society’s activities.
Nurun Nabi Talukder, director general of NGO Affairs Bureau, said concerns arose as the government took steps to frame a law for NGOs’ regulation.
The law will promote and facilitate NGOs’ activities, he said urging NGOs to focus more on welfare of poor people than their own sustainability.
Gowher Rizvi said most of the civil society organisations are doing tremendously well except for a few organisations which are blemishing the entire sector.
The government wants to bring the NGOs under a law to ensure their accountability. No law would be framed without their [NGOs] opinion.
The prime minister’s adviser also urged INGOs to remain alert so their legitimacy cannot be questioned.
“Your [INGOs] level of transparency is high, but you have to keep it in mind whether you have taken opinion and support of those people for whom you are working,” he said.
Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh, said the INGOs are here to help the government strengthen democracy.
Binayek Sen presented a research report while Gareth Price Jones, country director of Oxfam, and Paul O’ Brien, overseas director of Concern Worldwide, and Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh, also spoke.