October 27, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopia’s Charities and Societies Agency (CSoA), announced Saturday that it has shut down 10 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) under the county’s new civil society and charity law.
CSoA decided to revoke the licenses of the organizations due to alleged misconduct and violation to the law of charities and society’s proclamation, the agency public relations head Asefa Tesfaye said.
The agency warned a further 400 organizations that it said were operating against rules and regulations of the country. The agency is currently investigating the cases of some 17 organizations.
Financial related violations including not paying tax were the main cause for the closure of NGOs while license revocations of IRRC and Awelia School was because they accused of involvement in religious activities contrary to mission they were licensed for.
Despite international criticism, the Ethiopian government endorsed the Charities and Societies Proclamation in 2009.
Many international human rights groups and civil society groups condemned the controversial law saying it was a tool designed to strictly control and restrict the activities of civil society.
The law criminalizes human rights-related work undertaken by Ethiopian organizations that receive more than 10% their funding from overseas.
The 2009 law contravenes international and regional human rights treaties Ethiopia has signed, according to right groups.
Despite existing opposition to the law, the Charities and Societies Agency says it has registered hundreds of new associations and charities following the endorsement of the new law.
Currently there are nearly 3,000 international civil society groups, NGOs and charities operating in the horn of Africa nation.