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This article participates on the following special index pages:
NGO Bill - Index of Opinion and Analysis
of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Public of Service, Labour
and Social Welfare on the NGO Bill (HB 13, 2004)
November 16, 2004
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the NGO Bill
Read the Parliamentary Legal Committee's adverse report
proposed amendments to the NGO Bill
1.1 Mr Speaker
sir, the stated object of this Bill is to provide for an enabling environment
for the operations, monitoring and regulation of all non-governmental
organisations. It is intended to ensure a more efficient means of operation
for Non-Governmental Organisations.
1.2 The sponsoring
Minister must be commended for coming up with this Bill as its use will
greatly provide protection against some rampant practices that had characterised
the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) sector and allowed for unlawful
activities to prevail. The NGO Bill introduces a regulatory framework
for the operations of NGO activities. The principle of surveillance of
NGO work is neither unique to Zimbabwe nor is it necessarily objectionable
to the extent that it is consistent with regional and international standards.
Protection of fundamental rights is the norm and limitation the exception.
1.3 In that vein Mr
Speaker sir, your committee embarked on consultations with various NGO's
and their beneficiaries, culminating in a Public Hearing on the 7th of
September 2004,conducting a mini-survey into the operations of NGO's and
participating in a workshop aimed at sensitising Members of Parliament
to the provisions of the NGO Bill. Your committee then carried out a consideration
of the evidence it had gathered on the Bill, with a view toward strengthening
it and making it a more understandable and practicable piece of legislation.
1.4 Mr Speaker sir,
the NGO Bill deals with several interlinked topics: the setting up of
a Non-Governmental Organisations Council and office of Registrar; the
registration and exemption of NGO's; the administration of NGO's as well
as miscellaneous provisions on penalties and adjudication of disputes.
1.5 Mr Speaker sir,
your committee set out to consider how best the proposed Bill could be
structured, taking into account the various socio-economic and political
factors at play in the country at present as well as the culture and values
of our people. The committee also considered the fact that we live in
a complex global village and thus sought to come up with suggestions on
strengthening and improving the application of the Bill that mirror the
2.1 Mr Speaker sir, the role of the NGO sector in the economic and social
development of communities has become increasingly important as societies
the world over have been brought closer together by the effects of globalization.
NGO's can be found in sectors dealing with food and nutrition; the fight
against hunger and disease; child rights and health; human rights and
2.2. Mr Speaker sir,
your committee noted in its deliberations that NGO's by the very nature
of their work are necessarily seized with the subject matter of human
rights and humanitarian assistance. Indeed through consultations it was
noted that their broad mandate ensures that they deal with the root causes
of poverty, hunger and social and economic injustice. It was further noted
that contemporary human rights discourse is premised on the unequivocal
acceptance of the principles of indivisibility, interdependence and the
universality of human rights. In this regard the two concepts of human
rights and humanitarian assistance are intrinsically connected. Your committee
noted that the contribution of NGO activities complements government efforts
in various sectors.
2.3. Mr Speaker sir,
your committee considered all the individual clauses of the Bill in the
aforementioned interest to insure that a solid piece of legislation is
passed by this august House. A piece of legislation that is reflective
of our values as a people and that meets the standards of international
and regional best practice.
Your committee therefore
suggests that individual clauses and provisions of the Bill can be improved
as indicated in this report.
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