Theater of Cruelty

Tighter control regime

Norway must introduce measures that could threaten the freedom of organization of volunteers.


[terror] The drastic measures mean that the authorities can intervene against voluntary organizations and deny them access to their own accounts. Members of the board can be set aside and fines imposed. The authorities also have the opportunity to stop all activities of voluntary organizations that do not want to cooperate.

The requirement comes from the international working group Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The regulation was adopted on 16 February this year and is binding on the member states. The requirements must now be adapted to Norwegian law.

FATF's recommendation has led Danish aid organizations to respond, among other things. They believe that the regulations threaten the freedom of organization and that it also opens the way for authorities in other countries to demand access to the activities of Danish or Norwegian organizations.

- We are particularly concerned about how the new guidelines will be used in weak democracies, where the framework conditions for reform-friendly and oppositional parties are not so good. The FATF recommendations allow those in power to suppress and persecute their opponents with legitimate means, says Secretary General of the Danish aid organization IBIS, Vagn Berthelsen to Ny Tid.

Norwegian organizations Ny Tid has contacted, however, are not aware of the new regulations that the FATF requires to be introduced. The Secretary General of Care Norway, Gunnar Andersen, is one of them.

- However, we are open systems where you can follow the support of organizations, says Andersen. Bjørn Pettersen, Director of Communications at the Norwegian People's Aid, says that they are aware of the problem and are concerned about not being drawn into, or otherwise contributing to, money laundering or corruption.

- The government does not interpret this as a threat to voluntary organizations, says information manager at the Ministry of Justice, Gunnar A. Johansen.

He emphasizes that it is not clear at present which countries it may be appropriate to exchange information with in the event of suspected terrorist financing, but that this will be done in accordance with international rules.

- Proposals for legislative changes as a result of Norway's obligations in relation to the FATF will of course in the usual way be subject to consultation, says Johansen.

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