EU has to stand up for European NGO’s in India

Friday, February 10, 2017

EU has to stand up for European NGO’s in India

ECPM MEP Peter van Dalen wants to see action from the European Union due to the possible forced leave of the Christian organisation Compassion International out of India.

In India, numerous NGO's are active to support the most poor inhabitants of the country. One of those NGO's is Compassion International, helping as many as 145,000 children in the country. By means of sponsorship those children are daily provided with food and education. Sadly enough, India's government has blocked this work several months ago. Meanwhile, all of Compassion International's assets have been frozen by the Indian government and the provision of aid to all children is seriously in danger. Compassion International is even fearing having to stop all projects in India in March.

ECPM MEP Peter van Dalen (ChristenUnie-SGP) is a member of the European Parliament’s Delegation to India. He is angry about this situation: “India is more and more often obstructing Christians and Christian organisations. The hindu-nationalist government of Prime Minister Modi puts great pressure on Christian organisations like Compassion. Through several ways of bureaucratic bullying, it is virtually impossible for them to do their daily job. At the presentation of the Open Doors World Watch List on the persecution of Christians in the European Parliament, it was concluded as well that the situation in India is getting worse quickly. Especially for Christians and Christian organisations.”

Van Dalen: "This is unacceptable and that is why I have presented written questions to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, asking the European Union to take action towards India. The EU needs to put pressure on the government in New Delhi to change this terrible situation for Compassion, however mostly for those hundreds of thousands of children. Sadly enough I know that this sad situation not only applies to Compassion. I have been approached by several Christian NGO’s in the last days who all mention similar misery."

Van Dalen has asked the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Mrs. F. Mogherini, the following questions:

1.    Is the High Representative familiar with the freezing of Compassion International’s bank assets and the far reaching consequences of this, including the possible forced leave of the organisation from India?
2.    Does the High Representative share the analysis that Prime Minister Modi’s government is taking a harsher and more restrictive stance towards NGO’s and that this is disadvantageous for the chances of the most poor in India to develop themselves, while the EU is also donating aid funds to the country?
3.    What concrete steps can the High Representative take to unfreeze the frozen assets of Compassion International and reverse the trend of the harassment of NGO’s?

Van Dalen is hoping wholeheartedly that Compassion will not be forced to stop their work in India. He has sent a copy of his questions to the Chair of the Delegation to India of the European Parliament, Mr. Geoffrey Van Orden.

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