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.

PTI



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

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