Saturday, August 5, 2017

Human Rights: Regional NGO — Dispute of rights over queries regarding misuse of funds!

by A Special Correspondent - 

(August 4, 2017, Hong Kong SAR, Sri Lanka Guardian) On the
26th, July, 2017, Mr. Basil Fernando, Director, Policy and Programmes of the Asian Human Rights Commission, a non-governmental organization based in Hong Kong SAR, claimed for working towards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in order to protect and promote human rights in Asia, threatened a previous member of staff, Mr. John S. Sloan, with legal action if he did not offer a written apology for what he perceived to be a matter of criminal defamation.
The matter involved a query that Sloan posted on the Asian Human Rights Commission’s Facebook page which read: “Misuse of donated funds…is it okay?
According to the response sent by Sloan, he made the query after reading an online article about the number of unregistered NGOs in India, many of whom do not submit audited accounts when required by law.
In his response, Sloan refuted Fernando’s claim of defamation and refused to submit the apology demanded on the afternoon of the 28th, that afternoon he received another email from Fernando, also threatening him with legal action and accusing him of attempted blackmail. Fernando has never produced any evidence to back up this accusation.
“What is significant, and somewhat mysterious about this affair is that after making the initial threat to Sloan, Fernando removed the ‘offending’ query and his written threat of legal action from the AHRC Facebook page, thereby denying Sloan the right of reply”, a senior judicial analyst told the Sri Lanka Guardian.
Mr. Sloan’s response which copy is obtained by Sri Lanka Guardian is follows;
27th July 2017
Asian Human Rights Commission
52 Princess Margaret Road
Ho Man Tin
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Attn: Mr. Basil Fernando, Director Policy and Programmes
By Email
Dear Mr. Fernando,
I refer to your letter, received by email on the evening of the 26th. I think perhaps you are overreacting slightly. Perhaps you have a guilty conscience?
I know that your understanding of the English language is not quite as good as you would like your readers to believe. I know from personal experience that you use a plethora of editors to clean up your writing, you might recall that I was one of them. The point I am trying to make is that my comment on the AHRC Homepage was, in fact, a query. This is borne out by the Question Mark (?) following what you perceive to be my ‘comment’.
The reason for my query was an article I recently read on the internet about the number of NGOs in India, some of which have never registered their NGO status and many of which have never submitted audited accounts. I know full well that the AHRC do so whenever required. And that brings me back to the question of your sensitivity about my query. I think perhaps I see a tinge of guilt in your demand for me to retract my comments and apologise.
I see no reason to apologise for making such a query of a reputed regional human rights NGO. Indeed, If I can’t ask the Asian Human Rights Commission about the possible wrong doings of Asian region NGOs, who can I ask?
Incidentally, I see that you have removed your letter from the AHRC Facebook Homepage and wish to inform you that I expect to see a copy of this correspondence posted on your homepage. If you fail to do so I reserve the right to use your letter and this response in any way I see fit and suitable.
Yours sincerely,
(Original Copy Signed)
John Stewart Sloan