(Council of Europe) The Expert Council on NGO Law of the Conference of INGOs has just published a review on international standards relating to reporting and disclosure requirements for NGOs. The review is prepared against the background of the perceived trend of Member States imposing onerous reporting and disclosure requirements on NGOs. It is hoped that this publication will provide a useful guideline to Member States, NGOs and other interested parties as to the permissible scope of a State’s interference in this respect.

As the review suggests, while the applicable international instruments and case law do not specifically address all the issues surrounding the legitimate scope of NGOs reporting and disclosure obligations, nevertheless, they do set out the principles underpinning those measures and the legitimate scope of interference. Thus, while individual reporting and disclosure obligations might seem unproblematic on face value, difficulties might arise either from the level of detail required, the burden resulting from the accumulation of requirements and the way in which NGOs reporting and disclosure obligations are portrayed by public authorities.