I’d like to thank the Monitor for the April 25 online article “Behind global crackdown on NGOs, recognition of their power”. The International Republican Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, increasingly finds itself among those groups targeted by these restrictive regimes. Our work training civil society activists and building responsive, representative political parties is viewed as a threat to those trying to squelch dissent. Egypt started its crackdown on nongovernmental organizations back in 2011 when it abruptly raided several NGO offices, including IRI’s, and convicted our staff on bogus charges of undermining the Egyptian government.
More subtle measures include long bureaucratic delays in processing paperwork, exorbitant registration requests, and extensive censorship of public survey questions. These controls are seen in places like Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Ethiopia.
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The current trend away from free and open societies is troubling, but it’s also affirmation that the work we’re doing to empower local citizens is working and is powerful.
President of the International Republican InstituteTop