Is it just more bureaucracy?Government to get more control of NGOs [Archives:2004/783/Front Page]

October 21 2004

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
Yemeni authorities intend to set up a new plan to control the foreign funding of the NGOs operating in the country, an official said Monday.
Mr. Ali Saleh Abdullah, deputy minister of social affairs said in a workshop on the “Future of NGOs Work in Yemen that started last Monday that his ministry along with the ministry of planning and international cooperation will address the funding NGOs and embassies to assist the Yemeni government in “controlling and organizing the funding presented to the Yemeni NGOs.”
He said that his ministry is to set a new form to register the NGOs in place of the license that used to be issued to these NGOs to start operating.
“We have gone through the process and reviewed it several times and came to find out that there is no legal license; we do not exercise unaccepted monitoring or supervision; we do not want to turn into a policeman controlling the NGOs; we just want to know what is going on. In fact, we do not interfere into the business of these NGOs in the common security manner,” he pointed out.
The Yemeni official did not say if such step has to do with the fight of the fund-raising for terrorism purposes. However, the Yemeni authorities have already taken some step to control some of the suspected NGOs.
The new step has been attacked by some legalists and advocates who consider it as illegal. Advocate Mohammed Allow who participated in the workshop run by Civil Society Forum that this step” is a drawback to the reign of totalitarianism that was prevailing pre-unification.”
He stressed that there has not been any change in the law of NGOs except for changes of names, adding that, it gives the state the right to license or stop the set-up of NGOs which has brought about its interference in the work of these NGOs.
According to the 2004 statistics of the Social Affairs Ministry, the number of the registered NGOs mounts to 4,576, out of which only 2,941 operate within the framework of the NGOs law, according to Mr. Saleh.
On his part, Jamal Eddin al-Adimi of CSF pointed out that the constitution has given privileges to NGOs work, but the law has restricted this to a great extent in addition to the bureaucracy of the Yemeni officials when they come to enact it.