BY P. KHAREL
When the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested former United Nations staff Peter John Dalglish, a 60-year-old Canadian national at Kavre Palanchowk in April, it once again brought into focus the need for a close watch list of also pedophiles on the prowl in Nepal. Dalglish supported rural education and drinking water projects, in addition to taking children abroad for a “chance to see the world”. Awarded honorary Ph. D. thrice on different subjects, he served as country representative of UN Habitat in Afghanistan, senior urban advisor at WHO and founder of Street Kids International.
In a front page story, The Rising Nepal lamented: “Sexual exploitation of minors by international tourists has become a growing menace in the Kathmandu Valley.”
Some foreign nationals working for funding agencies or other international organisations are found not friends but fiends preying on the vulnerable and children for sexual and other forms of criminal exploitation. They find developing nations a fertile field for their misdeeds because of laxity on part of law enforcing agencies. I/NGOs are accorded excessive importance and rarely placed under local investigative scanner. Foreign nationals committing crimes against children hence operate virtually with impunity. Malpractice involves quite a few I/NGOs and “foreign agents”.
Plan International and Oxfam in February had to take action against sex scandal culprits among its staff, many of whom resigned in the wake of the disclosures related to their nefarious activity. In the aftermath of the April 2015 massive earthquake in Nepal, several INGOs were accused of gross misuse of funds they obtained for aiding and assisting the quake victims. Food supplied by FAO came in for media criticism for substandard quality.
It may be recalled that the United Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) that arrived for a brief period in connection with resettling former armed rebels among Maoists sought multiple extensions that over-stretched the patience of the host government and general public. UNMIN, entrusted with guarding the cantonments where the former rebels were placed, claimed to be guarding also at least 3,000 ex-rebels that never existed in the cantonment premises. Such was its performance.
STAGGERING FUNDS: INGOs in Nepal are said to be spending Rs 89 billion on various ministries and constitutional bodies in Nepal over a period of two financial years, which concluded mid-July. This does not account for spending through various NGOs. INGOs spent Rs 23b in some 20 Tarai districts in the last financial year, mostly on awareness campaign, health and education and undeclared campaign at religious-conversion.
Cambodia in August ordered two American-aided NGOs to close down. In August, when Egypt introduced legal measures designed to check NGOs closely, Washington announced that it was withholding $290 million in aid to Egypt until it improved its human rights record.
Flood victims in Saptari have accused various non-government organisations of distributing substandard relief material, including date-expired drugs, and being involved in financial irregularities.
In India, more than 11,000 organizations have lost their licenses to accept foreign funds since Prime Minister Modi took office in 2014. Also in March, the government of India ordered the Colorado-based Christian charity Compassion International on charges of engaging in religious conversion. It is mandatory upon Soros’s Open Society Foundation and National Endowment for Democracy to obtain prior permission from Indian government officials to transfer funds.
The media in the West rarely report on soaring rates of religious conversion in developing countries, as if it were taboo to discuss it at length. South Korea was a predominantly Buddhist country in the 1950s. Today, Christians are its dominant religious group.
Of the less than half of the estimated 100,000 NGOs in Nepal registered at the Social Welfare Council. Nearly half of the budget of I/NGOs is spending on administrative costs, the lion’s share going to the foreign staff as salaries, allowances and other facilities.
DONOR-DEPENDENT: If NGOs in Nepal were to be shut off from foreign financial aid, it would mean their deep hibernation or drastic shrinkage in numbers. Were such situation to occur, their only choice would mean being highly motivated to working on shoe-string budgets and delivering the services they publicly pledge to work for. This is no seductive prospect to the 5-star lifestyles that some NGOists have adopted.
There are plenty of people with plenty of needs in plenty of places. INGOs should find their job easier in making the selection process of locations for operating as aid agencies. They are supposed to be flooded with too many demands for their presence amidst constant shortage of funds. Hence were they to be asked to leave a particular location by the local government, they can migrate to other paces. Yet they crib and cry when they are asked to either comply with local regulations or quit the place.
INGOs should be given no room for playing local politics and “gathering information”. They are geared to setting their own agendas for local causes and taken actions in accordance with their own “values”. In other words, INGO script for everything we do! With such Samaritans, who needs fiends?
Fiends on the Prowl
BY P. KHAREL