Skip links

U.S. State Department Seeks to Influence Sri Lanka’s New NGO Legislation

The U.S. State Department has intervened in the drafting of Sri Lanka’s new legislation aimed at regulating the registration of both local and international NGOs, according to a top source.

The final draft of the ‘Non-governmental Organizations (Registration and Supervision) Bill’ is currently with the Attorney General for certification. Once approved, it will be announced in the gazette notification and then presented to Parliament. Presently, Sri Lanka has 1,786 registered NGOs operating at the national level, 1,636 at the district level, and 38,524 at the divisional level.

The new law aims to consolidate the registration of all NGOs under a single regulatory body. A source familiar with the process revealed that the U.S. State Department submitted recommendations for the proposed bill, including clauses on freedom of association. “Our bill had some restrictions, but we incorporated the U.S. recommendations to ensure freedom of association,” the source said.

During his recent visit to Sri Lanka, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu met with representatives to discuss the potential implications of the proposed law.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Colombo stated, “The United States continues to advocate for an open, consultative process in drafting legislation that reflects full stakeholder input and international best practices, without stifling freedom of association or expression.”

This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.