The Ministry of Interior has issued a first warning to associations and NGOs that failed to submit the requisite reports to the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Finance before the deadline on September 30.
According to a press release issued on Monday, only 648 organisations have fulfilled their obligations under articles 10 and 25 of the controversial Law on Associations and NGOs (Lango).
Under these articles, organisations have to submit their annual financial and donor reports, as well as bank statements to the ministries of interior and finance.
The ministry is now giving noncompliant organisations until the end of February to submit the required documents.
“In the case that an association or a local non-governmental organisation fails to comply with the conditions set out above, the Ministry of Interior will take legal actions,” the statement reads.
The statement also reminds NGOs that they have to submit their reports to both ministries within 30 days of submitting them to their donors.
Lango was passed in 2015 over the strong objections of NGOs, who felt that its provisions – including one stipulating that all organisations remain “neutral” – were broadly interpretable and could be used to curtail groups’ activities and stifle legitimate criticisms.
The law’s stepped-up reporting requirements have also been criticised as onerous, and an undue burden on NGOs, particularly smaller ones that lack human resources.