Draft Amendment on Charities and Societies Law Discussed

Addis Ababa The Advisory Council established to amend laws said to be restrictive started to discuss with stakeholders on the Charities and Societies and the Anti Terrorism laws.

This morning the Council held a public consultation forum on the draft law it prepared on charities and societies after thoroughly studying the existing law.

The committee to review the charities and societies law acknowledged the existence of some provisions that restrict civil society organizations from participating in economic activities.

Chairman of the Committee, Debebe Woldegebrel said the country has failed to comply with the international laws and treaties to which the nation is a signatory due to the law.

The pervious proclamation on charities and societies focused on regulating and controlling the CSOs but did not clearly provide for ensuring the rights of citizens to be organized under various charities and societies Debebe said.

The draft law that the committee has tabled for discussion would enable CSOs to be administered in a transparent and accountable manner and governed by an independent board.

It would also allow them to open a bank account, make investments, build asset and transfer their property to a third party as well as receive and also provide financial resources.

The draft law reportedly provides rights for CSOs to take up their grievances to the courts of law and also form consortiums of CSOs.

The draft law provides a new ratio of budget utilization for CSOs which sets 20% for administrative expenses while it allots 80% for operational expenses.

The justice and legal affairs advisory council, composed of 13 members, was established at the end of June to review laws that have been criticized for restricting political space and freedom of expressions and propose amendments.

The anti-terrorism, mass media and civil society proclamations, are among the laws criticized for being restrictive and subject to the review by the Council.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency