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Government to close bank accounts of NGOs not registered with MoD

The Sri Lankan government has announced that it will enact new laws, requiring all non-profit organisations to register as a non-governmental organisation with the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, with plans to impose sanctions on those that fail to comply.

The director of the National Secretariat for NGOs Saman Dissanayake said to Ceylon Today that according to the new legislation, organisations that do not register with the defence ministry will not be allowed to receive foreign funds and will have their bank accounts closed.

The ministry said that non-profit organisations, currently registered under the Sri Lanka Companies Act No. 7 of 2007, are acting like NGOs.

A letter from the secretariat was sent to NGOs this week, saying that NGOs should not overstep their mandate by engaging in activities such as holding press conferences, workshops, training for journalists, and the publication of press releases.

US ‘concerned’ about MoD circular restricting NGO activities (09 July 2014)

Military denies attempts to restrict NGO activities (08 July 2014)

Severe restrictions placed on NGO activities by Ministry of Defence (07 July 2014)

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