1.In the last few months you have raised many questions regarding the finances of NGOs. However you didn’t seem to get satisfactory answers to these questions. What is the recent behind this, specially since the UPFA government has been alleging about NGO activity for years?

The general slowness of our bureaucracy, and the absence of clear responsibility for what goes on. For instance, in one case I was told the question could not be answered since it related to four Ministries. Dr Sudharshani Fernandopulle got a similar answer for another very illuminating question. I would have thought that the principal Ministry involved could have looked for the answers, but I think our bureaucracy is not used to functioning like that, and takes the easy way out.


2. What’s the current state of the Parliamentary Committee appointed to look into NGOs. They issued an interim report in 2008 but has been silent ever since?

I’m sorry, I don’t know, since that was part of the last Parliament. I believe Committees lapse when Parliament is dissolved, but you would need to check that with the administration of Parliament, and the status then of any deliberations after the interim report

3. The Island reported that ‘Sri Lankan government says the recent revelation that former Secretary General of the London headquartered Amnesty International, Irene Khan and her deputy Kate Gilmore received a staggering 533,000 and 325,244 pounds, pay-off packages.’ Is the implication that AI has been working with LTTE or other groups of that nature?

I cannot answer for the implications of any report. However, when I was asked about this, I replied as given below. While I think that there is a new strain in Amnesty which is not as genuine as the earlier one, I certainly don’t think they were working with terrorists. Some of their more naïve and unthinking members can get carried away by propaganda – but I have long learnt never to attribute to evil what can be caused by incompetence.

The Changing Face of Amnesty International

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