The Non-governmental organisation bill ratification meeting, yesterday, attracted over fifty three local and international NGO’s at the Presbyterian Church premises to make recommendations to a draft law governing operations of NGO’s. The Government of Rwanda is expected to gazette the new law soon.
The one day meeting was organised by the ministry of Local Government’s department coordinating the NGO’s and coordinated by the local NGO Rwanda Initiative for Sustainable Development (RISD).
RISD coordinator Annie Kairaba, explained that the meetings objective was to discuses the draft law governing, NGO’s so that when the organic law is published, all NGO’s would have made their input.
“The ministry of Local Government has given us the opportunity to discuses the draft law to make formal recommendations and forward to them before taking the draft to the parliament,” Annie added.
Lawyer Laurent Nkongoli advised the local and international NGO’s to follow and understand the organic law that is soon to be published in the official gazette. The organic law will set down the legal structure of the law governing religious bodies and local and international NGO’s.
The draft law proposed by the ministry of Local Government defines a national NGO as one that; “shall encompass any voluntary organization, association or any autonomous, non profit making association organised at local or national level in order to improve economic, social and cultural development and to plead in favour of public interests of a group, individuals or organization with view of promoting common interest of their members.”
Article 3 of the draft law governing NGOs says that, “in accordance with their paramount objectives and nature of membership, NGO’s are classified into three main categories.”
These categories are, Public Interest Organization (PIO), “these are they are organizations serving public interests. They operate namely in the development sector of the civil society, in the field of socio-economic development, in the cultural and scientific fields, and in the field of human rights.”
The second category is of the Common Interest Organisations (CIO), according to the draft act, “these organisations act in a specific domain in favour of their members. CIOs with legitimate reason are free to operate without any prior registration. The CIOs wishing to register free to do so; in such case they shall address the application for such registration to the body thereof, subject to compliance with procedures thereof under this law.”
The last group being Foundations:“these are NGOs whose purpose is either to manage common or public properties or project of their interests. They are free to function without prior registration and where they intend to registered, they shall address the application to the body in charge, subject to compliance with regulations thereto.”
The law aims at regulating establishment and functioning of Rwanda’s NGO’s, in order to ensure their protection against their violation of association. This law mainly concerns formal local and international non-governmental organisations and does not regulate any other associations which do not fall in the realm of NGO definition as prescribed by the Act.