Ideas

Why It’s Immoral To Expect Certificates Of Approval From International NGOs

Outside view of Greenpeace India office (Hemant Mishra/Mint via Getty Images)
Snapshot
  • When these bloated organisations are making a living out of humanitarian crises across the world, and selectively support causes, why should they matter to anyone?

Hats off to the Government of India for showing Greenpeace the door! We now need to look hard at the more than 20 lakh non-government organisations (NGOs) operating in India, most of which are simply tax-evasion entities. Among the first that need to hit the junk pile are the international aid NGOs. Since these bloated organisations make a living off the humanitarian crises and sufferings of their beneficiaries, it is in their interest to ensure that deprivation persists.

Just looking at the misery these aid agencies have wreaked in Africa, it is evident that international aid comes with attendant evils. NGOs have used famine and child development as a smokescreen for pursuing other agendas – political and financial – not to mention the execrable offences they manage to get away with; aid workers guilty of paedophilia, for instance, are protected by the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN. More importantly, economists have unequivocally correlated lower economic growth with higher levels of international aid. Suffice it to say, international aid NGOs have no business being in a growth-oriented country like India.

The threat of international aid NGOs turning into political powder kegs in our very midst is more real than most countries realise. Imagine a hypothetical international NGO – let’s call it UNITheft – which touts itself as the world authority on child rights. In the past, international child rights NGOs have been known to selectively support causes – either politicise the conflict in Gaza or ignore the issue of child slavery in Sudan; what would stop UNITheft from politicising the situation in Kashmir? There was no outcry by international NGOs when 25 schools were burnt down in Kashmir in November 2016.

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And now, when children in Venezuela are facing starvation, international aid NGOs are nowhere to be seen. It is curious to see how they have washed their hands off the children in Venezuela, been remiss about mentioning the children dying of cholera in Yemen, and yet yell themselves hoarse about Rohingya child refugees from Myanmar. Is it possible that their silence on Yemen has been bought? Or that they are billing someone for all the hue and cry they are making about the Rohingya crisis? As a spin doctor for another government’s political causes, UNITheft would be a threat to our sovereignty and would vitiate our own democratic processes and institutions.

As the Latin saying goes, “Nosce hostem tuum”: know your enemy; and the same applies to dangerous agitprop like UNITheft posing as charities.

Now imagine if UNITheft had the power of rating and ranking countries and their respective governments along a variety of indicators – girls’ rights, for example; there is no end to the ways in which UNITheft could potentially abuse its power. In the past, even though there has been no data available on child marriage in Saudi Arabia, international aid NGOs have ranked India behind Saudi Arabia along those very same parameters. Not only has this corruption not provoked outrage among aid agencies, it has demonstrated how easily a clerical fascist country like Saudi Arabia can finagle a clean chit for itself. As a result, our government goes to great lengths to kowtow to UNITheft types, from granting them (rent-free) the most high-end real estate in Delhi as office space, to paying their employees’ salaries. All this with taxpayer money that ought to be going to our own local NGOs, state governments, and civic bodies, while UNITheft employees are paid to ‘chill’ in Delhi and publish “findings” and “reports,” and attend conferences in New York and Europe.

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We don’t need UNITheft to shill our country’s progress and less still, to rank us on child development indicators. But we do need the courage to call it out when it proffers endless patronising, infantilising advice, and yet seems to face paraplegia when it comes to doing actual work on the ground level. International aid NGOs rarely, if ever, deploy their own staff to conduct grassroots work, and are particularly circumspect when reporting their overhead costs.

Maybe we should adopt Saudi Arabia’s strategy and not even bother to give the UNIThefts of the world access to our data; not only would we own our own data and research and how it is presented to the world, but we would do a great service to vulnerable young children who are actually in need of help and intervention.

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