On December 22, 2017, following an internal investigation of its funding to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Danish Foreign Ministry announced that the “majority of Danish aid to the organizations, which was suspended in 2017, will not be paid.” The ministry also confirmed that that “donor cooperation [to the Ramallah-based NGO funding mechanism] will end at the end of the year 2017.”

For more than ten years, NGO Monitor’s has exposed European government funding to divisive NGOs through the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (Secretariat) and its previous incarnations. We identified grants to a number of NGOs linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – a designated terrorist organization in the EU, as well as funding to NGOs that promote antisemitism, BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns, and anti-normalization policies. NGO Monitor also revealed that managers of the Secretariat were similarly involved in anti-Israel political “lawfare” campaigns.

Between 2006 and 2018, Denmark provided approximately $12 million to the Secretariat and its predecessors.

In 2016, Norway briefly joined, and then left, the Secretariat. NGO Monitor researchers also found that in 2017, Norway halted funding to NGOs linked to the PFLP terror group. In addition, Norway’s most recent 2018 budget states that its priority in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza is to combat “discrimination, including hateful expressions and anti-Semitism.” Making clear its opposition to a “boycott against Israel,” Norway committed not to fund organizations that have “expressed key goals to promote the BDS campaign” in 2018, and instead expressed its support for “dialogue and cooperation.”1

Taken together, Norway and Denmark’s decisions highlight the belated awareness among European governments of the need for due diligence and full transparency in NGO funding.

NGO Monitor welcomes these important developments in Denmark and Norway, which point to a greater awareness of how civil society can be easily politicized, resulting in the hijacking of human rights and humanitarian causes.

See NGO Monitor’s video about the Secretariat here.