Posted by: Hendra Siry | 11 September, 2011

Govt to Get Tough on ‘Untransparent’ Foreign-Funded NGOs

Source : Jakarta Post – September 10, 2011
By Adianto P. Simamora

The government says it is evaluating all foreign-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating here to assess whether or not their operations benefit the country. The evaluation team, from the Home Ministry, said it would prioritize evaluating the presence of Greenpeace Indonesia. “The team is working to evaluate the foreign-funded NGOs, especially Greenpeace. We are collecting data [on it],” ministry spokesman Reydonnyzar Moeloek told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

“About Greenpeace, we [the Home Ministry] have received many inputs, including from the Islamic Student Association (HMI), Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and from the National Mandate Party (PAN) [about their illegal operations].” Currently there are about 1,600 NGOs, both local and foreign-affiliated, operating in Indonesia that are listed at the ministry.

The 1985 law on mass organizations requires all NGOs receiving money from foreign countries to report their financial statements to the government. Foreign-funded NGOs are also required to report their financial sources and activities in Indonesia.

“The compliance level of foreign-funded NGOs in reporting their financial statements is very low,” he said, adding that the ministry would disband NGOs that failed to obey the law. “It is not fair if foreign-funded NGOs campaign for transparency in the government, while they are not willing to report financial statements to the public,” he said.

Greenpeace Indonesia has repeatedly denied its operation in Indonesia is funded by foreign sources, saying that most of its money is raised through donations from Indonesians. Greenpeace Indonesia set up its office in Jakarta in 2006, and has more than 30,000 members who voluntarily donate more than Rp 75,000 (US$8.78) each per month.

Greenpeace has campaigned on issues ranging from nuclear power, climate change, energy, forestry and water pollution. Greenpeace, together with a number of NGOs such as the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi), have campaigned against forest destruction. Greenpeace has revealed its findings on forest destruction, citing the involvement of a number of giant companies operating in Indonesia.

Reydonnyzar said that the team would evaluate whether Greenpeace Indonesia’s activities were destructive for the country, or not. A Greenpeace spokesman said he welcomed the government’s move to evaluate the NGO’s finance sources, so that the public could be clear on Greenpeace’s presence in Indonesia. “We welcome it very much. Greenpeace Indonesia has its annual financial reports audited by an independent auditor,” he said.

Amid allegations that it was operating in the country illegally, Greenpeace advertised its financial statement in two daily newspapers on Aug. 25. House of Representative Deputy Speaker Anis Matta, who is also a politician from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), agreed with the move to evaluate foreign-funded NGOs. “We need to control [the NGOs] as part of efforts to maintain the sovereignty of the country,” he said as quoted by the tribunnews.com.


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