Landelijke India Werkgroep

Jul 25, 2017

Maatschappelijke organisaties India bedreigd
Indian civil society under threat


De Indiase Inlichtingendienst (IB) beweert dat door buitenlandse organisaties gefinancierde NGO's ontwikkeling belemmeren - Activisten ontkennen en zien het als poging om campagnes tegen bedrijven te ondermijnen

Op 3 mei 2014 lekte een rapport van de Indiase Inlichtingendienst uit – of zij lekten het zelf - over de invloed van NGO's op ontwikkeling. Het rapport is gericht aan de minister-president. Het rapport van de IB beschuldigt "door het buitenland gefinancierde" NGO’s dat ze "dienen als instrumenten voor de buitenlandse belangen van westerse regeringen" door het steunen van verzet tegen onder meer kernenergie, kolengestookte centrales en genetisch gemodificeerde gewassen. De NGO’s zouden werken via een netwerk van lokale organisaties, zoals People’s Union for Civil Liberties en Narmada Bachao Andolan. De NGO's en activisten hebben de beschuldigingen veroordeeld.
Op deze pagina op de website van Business & Human Rights Resource Centre een overzicht van nieuwsartikelen, commentaren door de NGO's en activisten en toelichtingen op de kwestie: http://www.business-humanrights.org/Documents/india-closing-civil-society-space. Hieronder vindt u meer artikelen.
Intelligence Bureau says Foreign-funded NGOs are stalling development - activists deny, says attempt to undermine campaigns against corporates

On May 3, 2014, Intelligence Bureau’s report on impact of NGOs on development was leaked. The report has accused "foreign-funded" NGOs of "serving as tools for foreign policy interests of western governments" by sponsoring agitations against nuclear and coal-fired power plants across the country. The NGOs, said to be working through a network of local organizations as People’s Union for Civil Liberties and Narmada Bachao Andolan.
Addressed to Prime Minister's Office, the report alleges that the "areas of action" of the foreign-funded NGOs include anti-nuclear, anti-coal and anti-Genetically Modified Organisms protests. The NGOs and activists have condemned the allegations. This page tracks news articles, comments by the NGOs and activists and commentaries on the issue.
See: http://www.business-humanrights.org/Documents/india-closing-civil-society-space.

Breaking Down Democracy: Goals, Strategies, and Methods of Modern Authoritarians
Jun 2017, report Freedom House
The 21st century has been marked by a resurgence of authoritarian rule that has proved resilient despite economic fragility and occasional popular resistance. Modern authoritarianism has succeeded, where previous totalitarian systems failed, due to refined and nuanced strategies of repression, the exploitation of open societies, and the spread of illiberal policies in democratic countries themselves.
Zie: https://freedomhouse.org/report/special-reports/breaking-down-democracy-goals-strategies-and-methods-modern-authoritarians

EU bevestigt haar inzet voor maatschappelijk middenveld en mensenrechtenverdedigers
1 mrt 2017, IDSN
In een verklaring op World NGO Day herhaalt de EU haar toezegging om de ruimte voor het maatschappelijk middenveld en mensenrechtenverdedigers te beschermen. Dit is met name van belang voor organisaties en verdedigers die kastendiscriminatie bestrijden omdat zij in toenemende mate worden geconfronteerd met bedreigingen en sancties.
Zie: http://www.indianet.nl/170301.html

EU states its commitment to civil society and human rights defenders
Mar 1, 2017, IDSN
In a statement on World NGO Day the EU reiterates its commitment to protecting space for civil society and human rights defenders. This is particularly relevant in relation to organisations and defenders working to fight caste discrimination as they are increasingly facing threats and sanctions.
See: http://idsn.org/eu-states-commitment-civil-society-human-rights-defenders/

VN-Rapporteur kritiseert Indiase wet buitenlandse donaties
9 mei 2016, IDSN
Een controversiële Indiase wet kan worden ingezet om organisaties die de regering bekritiseren het zwijgen op te leggen. Het in strijd met India’s internationale mensenrechtenverplichtingen, aldus een VN-expert.
Zie: http://www.dalits.nl/160509.html

UN Special Rapporteur criticises India’s FCRA
9 May 2016, IDSN
A controversial piece of Indian legislation could be used to silence organisations that criticize the government. It contravenes the country’s international human rights obligations, a UN expert says.
See: http://idsn.org/un-special-rapporteur-criticises-indias-fcra/

Human rights groups face global crackdown 'not seen in a generation'
26 Aug 2015, The Guardian
Laws affecting funding, requiring registration and prohibiting protest are among controls that are making it difficult for NGOs and other campaign groups.
See: http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/aug/26/ngos-face-restrictions-laws-human-rights-generation

Kamervragen Servaes en Jan Vos (beiden PvdA)
3-6-2015, Michiel Servaes (PvdA)
n.a.v. Handelsmissie India & Vrijheid voor kritische NGO's
Zie: http://www.michielservaes.nl/KV-Handelsmissie-India.html

India en de NGO's
3-6-2015, Met het Oog op Morgen (Radio 1)
Vanaf donderdag reist een Nederlandse handelsmissie door India. Non-gouvernementele organisaties zouden zich graag aansluiten maar krijgen geen visum. Gerard Oonk van de Landelijke India Werkgroep schetst een somber beeld van een land dat democratie steeds minder hoog in het vaandel heeft staan...
Zie: http://www.indianet.nl/150603.html

Mark Rutte, pleit in India voor vrije mening en organisatie
3-6-2015, Volkskrant
Van 4 tot en met 6 juni brengt premier Rutte samen met minister Ploumen, staatssecretaris Dijksma en zestig bedrijven een bezoek aan India. Nederlandse vertegenwoordigers van ontwikkelings-, milieu- en mensenrechtenorganisaties (ngo's) zullen geen deel uitmaken van deze delegatie. De Indiase ambassade heeft te kennen gegeven hun geen visa te zullen verstrekken.
Zie: http://www.volkskrant.nl/opinie/mark-rutte-pleit-in-india-voor-vrije-mening-en-organisatie~a4049855/

Open brief aan Premier Rutte: pleit in India voor vrijheid van organisatie en meningsuiting
29-5-2015, LIW, Greenpeace e.a.
Van 4 tot en met 6 juni brengt u samen met minister Ploumen, staatssecretaris Dijksma en 60 bedrijven een bezoek aan India. Nederlandse vertegenwoordigers van ontwikkelings-, milieu- en mensenrechtenorganisaties (NGO’s) zullen geen deel uitmaken van deze delegatie. De Indiase ambassade heeft te kennen gegeven hen geen visa te zullen verstrekken.
Zie: http://www.indianet.nl/pdf/br150529.pdf

India’s Chilling Crackdown
7 May 2015, The New York Times
The Ford Foundation is among the world’s best-known charitable organizations, dispensing billions of dollars globally for projects aimed at reducing poverty, fighting injustice, improving education and advancing democracy.
So it was alarming when India’s Ministry of Home Affairs last month placed the foundation, which has made $500 million in grants to organizations in India since 1952, on a national security watch list. That means it cannot give money to Indian groups without permission from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. The move shook the donor community and triggered fears of a broader crackdown on civic activism — fears quickly realized when the government canceled the registration of nearly 9,000 foreign-funded civic and nongovernmental groups.
See: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/08/opinion/indias-chilling-crackdown.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0#

Greenpeace India: The price of dissent
6 May 2015, Greenpeace.org
In less than a month, Greenpeace India is in danger of closing.
Over the last year, we have born the brunt of repeated attacks. In June 2014, all funds coming from Greenpeace's international office were frozen. Then in January, my colleague Priya Pillai was due to fly to London to meet with British politicians but was prevented from leaving the country. In both cases, the Delhi high court has agreed with us that ministers have misused their authority.
See: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/greenpeace-india/blog/52820/

Greenpeace India could close within a month due to government crackdown
5 May 2015, The Guardian
Greenpeace India will be forced to close within a month with the loss of 340 jobs because of a government crackdown on its funding, the organisation’s chief has warned.
The Indian home ministry froze seven bank accounts connected with the organisation last month, the latest in a series of moves against the NGO since Narendra Modi’s government came to power.
The international group said that if it was forced to close the Indian operation, it would be the first time since it was founded in 1971 that one of its national organisations was forcibly closed down.
See: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/05/greenpeace-india-could-close-within-a-month-due-to-government-crackdown

Letter Greenpeace Netherlands to Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Koenders
5 May 2015
I am writing to ask for your support for civil society organisations in India, and in particular, Greenpeace India who are experiencing escalating attacks from India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
These attacks by the MHA against Greenpeace India are wide-ranging, have been occurring since June 2014 and are a worrying threat to democratic rights of free speech and public participation in India.
They are also damaging to India’s international credibility. As Amnesty International stated last month, “These extreme measures taken by the government to disable an organisation for promoting the voices of some of the country’s most powerless people will damage and shame India.”
Read the full letter: http://www.indianet.nl/pdf/br150505.pdf

Government attempts to muzzle Greenpeace India are 'illegitimate' and 'repressive' - open letter
22 April 2015, The Guardian
The Indian government’s decision to freeze the NGO’s bank accounts has prompted an open letter of solidarity from civil society, addressed to the minister of home affairs.
See: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/apr/22/government-greenpeace-india-open-letter

Henri Tiphagne: Indiase mensenrechtenverdediger
Henri Tiphagne: Indian Human Rights Defender

23 July 2014, International Service for Human Rights
Ondanks grote problemen van People’s Watch bij de strijd tegen de al bijna twee jaar durende opschorting van de registratie onder de Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA, Wet voor Regeling van Buitenlandse Bijdragen) door de Indiase regering te bestrijden, blijft deze mensenrechten-NGO uit Tamil Nadu zich inspannen voor de bevordering en solidariteitsacties met bescherming van mensenrechten. Zij doet dit door onderzoek naar mensenrechtenschendingen, strategische belangenbehartiging en solidariteit met de strijd van mensen. Henri Tiphagne, uitvoerend directeur van People's Watch, spreekt met ISHR over de uitdagingen waar verdedigers van mensenrechten in India voor staan.

Despite the trials faced by People’s Watch in fighting the suspension of its registration under the Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA) by the Indian government for nearly two years, the Tamil Nadu-based human rights NGO continues to work for the promotion and protection of human rights through the monitoring of human rights violations, strategic advocacy and solidarity with peoples’ struggles. Henri Tiphagne, Executive Director of People’s Watch, speaks to ISHR about the challenges faced by human rights defenders in India.

Zie/See: http://www.indianet.nl/140723.html

Decoding the red alert on green NGOs
26 June 2014, IndiaTogether.org
The accusations of the Intelligence Bureau against foreign environmental NGOs appear hollow and misguided when one looks at the direction and substance of their work in India so far. Darryl D’Monte urges the government to restrict itself to scrutiny of forex norms followed, without stifling the expression of dissent by these NGOs.
See: http://indiatogether.org/ib-report-on-foreign-ngos-and-greenpeace-environment

India crackdown on foreign-funded charity
26 June 2014, The Australian
India is cracking down on foreign-funded charities after receiving an internal report alleging they are costing the country up to three per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) by rallying communities against polluting industries.
See: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/india-crackdown-on-foreign-funded-charity/story-fn3dxity-1226967710622?nk=ad23eaa8384c0c0254d3dc7326154cb6

How the government is smothering dissident NGOs
23 June 2014, Praful Bidwai, TNI.org
Muzzling NGOs is unbecoming of a democracy. Self-confident democracies encourage, indeed applaud, the involvement of citizens' associations, including NGOs, in social and political decision-making and development planning. Instead, our paranoid government bullies and terrorises them.
See: http://www.tni.org/article/how-government-smothering-dissident-ngos

Only 11 of 22 NGOs FCRA-registered, no one has filed statement for 2013-14
21 June 2014, by Shyamlal Yadav, New Delhi in Indian Express
IB report: NGOs got nearly Rs 650 cr from overseas in five years from ‘08-’09 to ‘12-’13, show filings made to MHA.
Of the 22 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and donor agencies named in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) report submitted to the government earlier this month, only 11 are registered with the Home Ministry under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), and have been submitting reports of foreign contributions received by them over the years.
However, none of these 11 bodies have so far filed their foreign contributions statements for 2013-14 to the Ministry. The IB report, submitted to the PMO and National Security Adviser, alleged that several foreign-funded NGOs were stalling India’s economic growth by their obstructionist activism.
See: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/only-11-of-22-ngos-fcra-registered-no-one-has-filed-statement-for-2013-14/

The importance of dissent in democracy
18 June 2014, by Pushpa M. Bhargava in The Hindu
In a democracy, non-governmental organisations provide a platform to civil societyto dissent in an informed and reasoned manner.
On October 31, 1570, Martin Luther nailed on the door of a church in Germany 95 objections to the Catholic faith that led to the emergence of Protestantism. Soon after, Galileo Galilei challenged the Church by stating that the Earth and other planets revolve round the Sun. He died under house arrest.
See: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/the-importance-of-dissent-in-democracy/article6124674.ece

Polinomics: Dissent is now a crime
17 June 2014, by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta in The Asian age
The IB [Intelligence Bureau] report appears to have been deliberately leaked with a specific purpose — to create an atmosphere that would encourage some in the government to come down hard on dissenters and those whose views and activities they don’t like.
See full article: http://www.asianage.com/columnists/polinomics-dissent-now-crime-385

How India treats its NGOs
16 June 2014, by: Maja Daruwala and Ventatesh Nayak
In a case of giving a dog a bad name and hanging him, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has submitted a report damning foreign-funded NGOs for stalling development and giving to Western powers undue leverage over India. Notwithstanding that it is a confidential document, it has been widely reported in the press, though no official confirmation of its receipt has been made.
See: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/how-india-treats-its-ngos/.

When are foreign funds OK? A Guide for the perplexed
16 June 2014, by Nivedita Menon
The Intelligence Bureau has, as we know prepared a document, updating it from the time of the UPA regime (which had reportedly started the dossier) indicating large scale foreign funding for subversive anti-development activities. Such as claiming that you have a greater right to your own lands and to your livelihood than monstrous profit-making private companies. Or raising ecological arguments that might stand in the way of the profits to be made by private corporations and the corrupt state elite, from mining, big dams, multi-lane highways and so on.
See: http://www.outlookindia.com/article/When-Are-Foreign-Funds-Okay-/291077.

Report on NGO Funds: is the Intelligence Bureau on a witch hunt?
16 June 2014 in First Post
The first thing first. All NGOs should be made accountable. They must make full and public disclosure of their funding and expenditure. They must also be made answerable under the RTI Act. The voluntary sector is a den of corruption and needs to be set straight.
But the leaked IB report on NGOs does not make any such attempt. If it were serious, it could have taken cue from, instead of Narendra Modi’s 2006 speech, a meticulous 2013 report by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) –India’s funds to NGOs squandered–that details how over Rs 1,000 crore of government funding to the voluntary sector is largely decided by bribes and political influence. But that was not in IB’s terms of reference for what turned out to be a witch hunt.
http://www.firstpost.com/blogs/report-on-ngo-funds-is-the-intelligence-bureau-on-a-witch-hunt-1571273.html.

Closing Space: Democracy and Human Rights Support Under Fire
20 February 2014, Thomas Carothers & Saskia Brechenmacher (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)
After seeing its reach increase for decades, international support for democracy and human rights faces a serious challenge: more and more governments are erecting legal and logistical barriers to democracy and rights programs, publicly vilifying international aid groups and their local partners, and harassing such groups or expelling them altogether. Despite the significant implications of the pushback, the roots and full scope of the phenomenon remain poorly understood and responses to it are often weak.
http://carnegieendowment.org/2014/02/20/closing-space-democracy-and-human-rights-support-under-fire/h8ym.




Landelijke India Werkgroep - Jun 4, 2015