Regulations to the NGO Act of 2016 fails to address HRAPF’s concerns about the Act

By hrapf
In June 26, 2017
On Blog
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Regulations to the Non-Governmental Organisations Act, 2016, made by the Minister responsible for internal affairs in consultation with the NGO Bureau, were gazetted in May 2017. These regulations deal with the implementation of various provisions of the Act, including the registration and dissolution of self-regulatory bodies; the submission of annual returns to the Bureau and operational permission from District NGO Monitoring Committees and Local Governments.

There are a number of matters of concern to HRAPF and the NGO sector as a whole arising from these Regulations. In the first place, the regulations require of the NGO Bureau to give reasons for refusing to register an NGO within 30 days from the date of refusal. The regulations, however, do not provide for a deadline for the Bureau to make its decision on registration. This allows for a situation where the Bureau can inordinately delay reaching a decision about the registration of an organisation. In the second place, inspectors are given extremely broad powers in investigating matters for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the Act and Regulations. The Regulations allow inspectors access to premises and gives them the power any ‘incriminating’ documents and material.

Moreover, HRAPF’s greatest concern about the Act has been the fact that it prohibits the registration of organisations whose objectives contravene the laws of Uganda (section 30(1)(a)) and that it places ‘special obligations’ on organisations not to engage in acts which are prejudicial to the laws of Uganda or the dignity of the people of Uganda (section 44(d) and (f)). These provisions pose difficulty for organisations advocating for the rights of groups who engage in activities which are criminalised, such as sex work, drug use and same-sex sex. HRAPF had advocated for the adoption of Regulations which would address our concerns by making it clear that providing services to marginalised groups who engage in criminalised activity ought not be interpreted as an act which contravenes the laws of Uganda. HRAPF also suggested guidelines for determining whether an organisation is meeting its ‘special obligations’ for inclusion in the Regulations.

Unfortunately, these suggestions were not taken up in the Regulations and the Act continues to pose the dreaded risks to the free operation of civil society.

See below the Regulations to the NGO Act 2016 adopted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs as well as HRAPF’s analysis of the Act and our proposed regulations.

Regulations to the NGO Act 2016

160320hrapfspositionpaperonthengoact2016

HRAPF Draft Regulations to NGO Act

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