Thousands of Honduran NGOs Face the Axe for Noncompliance

Paperwork Burden Too Much for Struggling Nonprofits

By Rebeca Morla

PanAm Post

The Secretariat of Governance and Justice announced on January 11 that 4,104 nonprofit organizations will lose their legal status in Honduras. The NGOs failed to present financial reports the government requires to legalize their operations in the country. Among those affected are religious groups, medical charities, and human-rights organizations.

In accordance with the 2011 Special Act for Promotion of Non-Governmental Development Organizations, which stipulated the need to monitor all civil-society organizations, NGOs are required to submit an annual report detailing their administrative activities, funding, assets, and liabilities.

The Registration and Monitoring Unit for Civil Associations (URSAC) gave two consecutive extensions to the original deadline by which NGOs had to present their reports, with the latest expiring in October 2014. A bureaucratic registration process, and fears about being shut down regardless, may have played a part in the failure of the vast majority of affected civil-society organizations to comply with regulations.

“The logical process means that their license to operate is cancelled … some of them have failed to submit any information in about two or three years, so this must be understood by the government of Honduras to mean absolute inactivity,” Juan Pablo Hernández, head of URSAC, told local newspaper El Heraldo.

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