Bangladesh Shuts 200 Christian NGOs

Published 28 August 2017  |  
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Children holding the flag of Bangladesh.

In the last one year, Bangladeshi government has cracked down 200 active Christian NGOs by operating the Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Bill, 2016 (FDRB) that was passed into law in Oct. 2016.

Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI), an NGO that has survived the FDRB, has reported that shut down on NGOs comes in the aftermath to Bangladesh's major terrorist attack last year, according to Mission Network News.

In Aug. 2016, the country witnessed terrorist attacks on Holey Artisan Bakery and Café in Dhaka. Over 20 people were killed in the attack, including foreigners.

Most of the funds for terrorists' activities come to Bangladesh under the disguise of foreign help. Since it is difficult to pin down the funds sent to support terrorism, the government has scrutinized the financial procedures for NGOs in the country, especially the religious ones that receive foreign funds.

"It's a shame that these organizations that wanted to help the people of Bangladesh are now being prevented from doing that," said Bruce Allen, FMI member.

Now, under the current bill, NGOs must register with NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB); and it is the NGOAB who decides the eligibility of the registered NGO to receive foreign aid.

However, certain types of NGOs have found favor in the eyes of the Bangladeshi government.

"If you're an organization, even if you're a Christian mission agency or NGO, providing non-religious services such as a hospital or relief work [and] things like that, and your services are available to anyone in Bangladesh, then you're able to continue to operate in Bangladesh," said Allen.

"So what they were really clamping down on was just overt religious activity, so things that were geared specifically for the Christian community," he added.

Only those organizations that seem to improve the lives of Bangladeshis have chances to survive under FDRB.

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