– Yesterday, the Agency for Civil Society Organizations (ACSO) announced that it would take punitive action against aid agencies suspected of working on issues beyond their founding purpose and threatening the sovereignty, unity and security of Ethiopia.
The agency’s deputy director general, Fasikaw Molla, told the state Amharic publication Addis Zemen that various punitive measures are being taken against some charities that operate outside their targets. Fasikaw added, “Depending on the nature of the damage, various corrective actions will be taken, ranging from warnings to suspensions and closings.”
“We have no mercy on civil society organizations that have sovereignty , Threaten the unity and security of Ethiopia. We will never negotiate to deal with such a predicament, “said Fasikaw, adding,” We have information that some civil society organizations are acting against the national interest. As the situation poses a threat to the national interest, we will deal with it very seriously. The necessary corrective action will be taken as soon as we have completed the investigation. ”
BBC Amharic quoted lawyer Debebe Haile Gebriel as criticizing a law regulating civil society that was amended two years ago. “Before a law is passed, it should have been published on the Attorney General’s website for comment,” Debebe said under Article 6, which reads: “The Agency may regularly monitor and control organizations in any manner it deems appropriate to ensure that they work in accordance with the law. ”
According to him,“ In particular, the sentence that dictates “definitely” is too broad for the authority, open to interpretation and opens the door to classify any act as illegal activity. “The deputy director, Fasikaw Molla, told BBC Amharic,” The agency is holding various interviews before approving the guidelines and will handle complaints. ” Civil society groups will gather to view the draft and provide their full comments. He also said that the ideas raised at each forum will be recorded and efforts will be made to improve them all.
This happened when the ACSO approved the temporary suspension of MSF Holland, the Norwegian Refugee Council , announced and humanitarian operations of the Al Maktoume Foundation in Ethiopia.
The agency accused MSF Holland and the Norwegian Refugee Council of spreading misinformation on social media and other platforms of Education’s COVID-19 guidelines, to manage her budget, and accused her of abusing her budget in the name of providing affordable education, as well as issues with human resources management. The agency said the organizations were doing business Suspended for three months in accordance with Article 77 (4) of Proclamation No. 1113/2011 pending the final decision. Addis Standard contacted the ACSO to clarify some information, but the repeated attempts were unsuccessful.