06/12/2015, 00.00
TAJIKISTAN
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Dushanbe joins Beijing in the struggle to NGOs: They go braking

A draft law passed by the Tajikistan Parliament blocks foreign funding to NGOs. In the country 2,600 aid groups operate, which in 2013 received about 643 thousand euro from abroad. Even China and Kyrgyzstan provide restrictive rules for foreign financing to civil associations.

Dushanbe (AsiaNews) - The lower house of Tajikistan unanimously approved an amendment to the law on public associations authorizing greater controls on foreign funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The decision was taken on June 10 after months of discussions. As was the case in the past weeks in Kyrgyzstan and  China, the authorities in Dushanbe have targeted the work of NGOs engaged in civil society.

Rustam Shomurod, Minister of Justice, presented the draft law in the lower house ["Majlisi Namoyandagon" in the local language - Ed]. According to the politician, the new law "first of all, has the objective of ensuring transparency spending, ensuring state security and preventing financial crime, terrorism and money laundering". Until now in fact "there has been no control mechanism on NGOs receiving funding from abroad."

According to the minister, the country recorded more than 2,600 public associations. "The estimates – he continues - report that in 2013 they received 4.5 million somoni [about 643mila euro - ed] in foreign financing. But we nourish doubts about the accuracy of the data. " The government is also studying a method to receive notice of the money received and spent.

NGOs operating in Tajikistan have expressed concern since the amendment was first presented in November 2014. According to their members, the law would allow the receipt of money from abroad only if the organization is legally registered in the Central Asian country . This could have adverse effects and lead to the closure of those associations that do not have huge resources.

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