Foreign NGOs can`t claim diplomatic immunity, says Lanka govt
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 13:41
Colombo: Sri Lanka will introduce new laws to regulate both local and international non-governmental organisations, some of whom have been accused of supporting "terrorism" and anti-government activities.

In a statement posted on its official website, the Sri Lankan government today said foreign NGOs will not be able to claim diplomatic immunity and avoid a new registration system that is to go into effect immediately.

"INGOs/NGOs shall not be entitled to avoid registration claiming diplomatic immunity," the government's Information Department said, adding they must register and obtain a certificate from the ministry of Defence to operate.

"About 1,250 NGOs are operating at national level in the country and among them around 250 are International NGOs," the department said.

Sri Lankan authorities had accused non-government organisations of supporting "terrorism" when the government was battling Tamil Tigers last year and banned them from conflict zone.

Even the International Committee of the Red Cross and UN agencies had severely restricted access to the embattled regions.

Sri Lanka has also proposed doing away with visa on arrival for nationals from over 85 countries, including Westerners and South Asians, amid fears that remnants of Tamil Tiger rebels were trying to regroup.

The visa restriction was to go into effect from October, but the implementation of the scheme has been delayed following protests from the tourism industry, a major foreign exchange earner.


First Published: Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 13:41

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