WASHINGTON – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) and 105 other members of the U.S. House today wrote India’s Minister of Home Affairs urging him to allow U.S.-based charity Compassion International to continue its work of providing critical tutoring, nutrition and medical services to more than 145,000 Indian children. The charity will soon be forced to end its programs in India unless the Ministry of Home Affairs provides a reprieve.
Full text of the letter is below and a signed copy is available for download here.
March 21, 2017
The Honorable Rajnath Singh
Minister of Home Affairs
Ministry of Home Affairs, North Block
New Delhi-110001, India
Dear Mr. Singh:
As long time supporters of the U.S.-India partnership, we have worked diligently to deepen ties between our two countries. As the largest and oldest democracies in the world, India and the United States share bonds rooted in political pluralism and respect for the rule of law. It is with this in mind that we write to express our deep concern over the lack of transparency and consistency in your government’s enforcement of the Foreign Contributions Regulations Act.
The ongoing case of U.S.-based Compassion International, which will have harmful consequences for many Indian children, has caused serious concern within the U.S. Congress. As you may know, Compassion International has worked in India since 1968, and today, its programs support over 145,000 Indian children, providing critical tutoring, health and nutrition, and medical services.
Tragically, Compassion will soon be forced to terminate its service to India after nearly 50 years of working in your country. We are writing because we believe the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an inter-bank circular preventing all commercial banks in India from processing CI’s wire transfers without prior Ministry approval. As a result, Compassion is unable to process the funds it needs to continue, and will be forced to close its sponsorship programs on March 15th, to the detriment of the hundreds of thousands of children Compassion serves in India. Many of our constituents, who have built emotional attachments through years of building relationships with these kids, are devastated by this wrenching cutoff.
We want to be clear with you that we expect all American entities operating within India to respect India’s laws, including Compassion. Having seen the important poverty alleviation work being done by CI, it is our sincere hope that this situation can be resolved quickly by your issuing a temporary reprieve. This would allow Compassion International to process their wire transfers and keep their programs serving the Indian people operating until a more permanent solution can be found in accord with India’s laws.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We look forward to your response.