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Ethiopia: New Law on Nongovernmental Organizations Passed

(Jan. 13, 2009) On January 6, 2009, the Ethiopian Parliament passed into law the Proclamation for Registration and Regulation of Charities and Societies, which seeks to regulate activities of non-governmental organizations. The Proclamation establishes an oversight agency and detailed rules to regulate the establishment, fundraising, and membership of trusts and endowments, civil society organizations, and charities. It restricts activities in “human and democratic rights, gender or ethnic equality, conflict resolution, the strengthening of judicial practices or law enforcement” to Ethiopian organizations whose funding from “foreign sources” does not exceed ten percent of their spending funds. (New Law on Charities Passed Despite Objections, IRIN, Jan. 6, 2009, available at

The Proclamation has come under heavy criticism both from national and international groups. Critics have argued that the Proclamation is a “scheme to stifle societal and voluntary initiatives” and that it will “hurt human rights groups critical of the government and … disrupt aid operations.” (Id.)