Speaking to the students, the National Coordinator of SLANGO Shellac Davies gave a summary description of her work in tandem with the mandate of her organization, adding that there are 352-member organizations registered with SLANGO.
“Our role is to interface between Government and NGOs.”
Answering to questions regarding the revised NGO Policy and why the row between government and civil society, Shellac Davies comment was that the Policy contains both good and bad provisions. She pointed out that some of her member organizations are against it mainly because of the fixed registration criteria set out in the Policy for NGOs to follow. She narrated that the government had earlier solicited the views/concerns of NGOs in a nation-wide consultation exercise but egregiously ignored the greater part of NGOs’ contributions to the process in the final draft of the document which was surreptitiously passed by Parliament in 2017.
SLANGO Board Members present buttressed Shellac’s submission and further highlighted grey areas in the Policy which they describe as an affront to the right to freedoms of expression and association.
They said the Policy was, after the Government exterminates their contributions gathered from a nation-wide consultation with NGOs on the revised Policy.
Prior to their engagement with SLANGO, the students have already met with the Institute of Governance Reform (IGR), Society for Democratic Initiatives (SDI), Human Rights Defenders Network-Sierra Leone (HRDN-SL), amongst others.
According to Dr. Shepler, the students will have to compile a report based on their findings and engagements with NGOs/Civil Society which they will then forward to SLANGO for apt intervention
It could be recalled that the Human Rights Defenders Network-Sierra Leone held a press conference in June this year where they called on the New Direction to suspend the revised NGO Policy on grounds that it is not “human right friendly” and that it contains onerous provisions that not only inhibit the functional autonomy of NGOs/Civil Society but also interfere with their structural operations.