It looks like Tajikistan is following a regional trend by drafting legislation that may sharply restrict the activities of foreign-funded non-governmental organizations. Activists say the bill threatens to hinder the operations of hundreds of organizations working on everything from human rights to public health.
The leaders of several prominent NGOs told EurasiaNet.org they were caught off guard when the bill was introduced earlier in November. They added that they were not involved in the drafting of the legislation, as had been customary for NGO-related bills, and have not been able to obtain details about the specific wording of the draft. The government has said nothing publicly yet about the bill, which comes as state agencies have increased unscheduled inspections and other bureaucratic measures concerning non-profits, the NGO leaders say.
Under current regulations, all NGOs operating in Tajikistan must regularly present detailed reports on their activities to the Justice Ministry, where they are obliged to register; they also must present financial statements to tax inspectors.
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Konstantin Parshin is a freelance writer based in Tajikistan.