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News from Central

National NGO Verification exercise threatens continued operations.

More than 12,000 charities have been told they can no longer operate in Uganda as critics raised fears that government regulatory measures effectively amounted to a purge.

The government said a review that took place in August and September of 2019 would root out poorly performing organizations and create “a reliable data bank on all NGOs” in the country.

But activists say a requirement to validate their status could have a “chilling effect” on their work.

Many fear that any criticism of the government could lead to a withdrawal of NGO status.

Since many organizations believe they are already under scrutiny. In June, the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, which represents 149 NGOs in Uganda indicated that its members had suffered 34 office break-ins since 2011, but received no reports on police investigations.

Following the government review, by the end of November 2019 after the first review, the number of officially registered NGOs in Uganda was reduced from 14,207 to 2,118. It is understood that most of the organizations told to stop operating are local groups, rather than large international NGOs.

Jeje Odongo, Uganda’s minister of internal affairs, said in the last week that organizations not included on the verified register must cease their operations immediately.

The government has also directed banks not to open accounts for unregistered groups, which will no longer be able to hire rooms.

Dr Frank Mugisha, director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, said his organisation is challenging a decision to deny the NGO’s registration. Mugisha said other organizations that campaign for LGBT rights have also been left off the verified register. Though such groups can operate as associations, which do not need government registration, this would constrain their activities and ability to mobilize funds.

They exercise was interested in a lot of information sources of funding, your board, and your staff. and it could easily be misused to support selfish reasons of government,

Since this was the first validated register, there was a chance for those organisation that had missed it to to submit the information needed to be validated as a legitimate organisation.

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