First of all, it is necessary to define what a Non-Governmental Development Organization (NGDO) is, a concept framed in article three of the Special Law for the Promotion of Non-Governmental Development Organizations, which defines them as: “Any entity of a private nature, apolitical in the partisan sense, non-profit and without preponderantly trade union, labor or religious objectives, with different objectives that contribute to the humanitarian and integral development of the population and other related objectives, defined by its members. They are created independently of local, regional and national governments, as well as international organizations of bilateral or multilateral cooperation”.
Once it has been defined in its broad sense, what are the NGODs, it is possible to observe a division made by the aforementioned Law, between what are Associations and Foundations. Foundations are a group of a patrimonial and non-profit nature, created by the will of one or several natural or juridical persons for the realization of activities that contribute to the humanitarian and integral development of the population and other related activities defined by its or their founders. On the other hand, Associations are non-profit groups democratically organized by natural or juridical persons, and which are constituted for the purpose of carrying out activities that contribute to the humanitarian and integral development of the population and other related matters defined by their members, both concepts regulated in the Regulations of the Special Law for the Promotion of Non-Governmental Development Organizations.
Now, understanding what Associations and Foundations are, what is not considered a NGDO? Well, the following are not considered NGODs: political parties, churches, sects, cooperatives, trusts, unions, professional associations, associative companies that are part of the Social Sector of the Economy, guild organizations and others that do not comply with the provisions of the Special Law for the Promotion of Non-Governmental Development Organizations or those that are subject to special regulations.
Regarding the requirements for the creation of a national NGDO, in accordance with article seven of the Special Law for the Promotion of Non-Governmental Development Organizations, the following must be complied with:
1) In the case of foundations, it, or the founders must constitute it in a public deed, in which the bylaws shall be incorporated.
2) In the case of associations, the following shall be complied with:
(a) Be constituted with a minimum number of seven (7) founding members; (b) Its Constitution shall be carried out in an Assembly whose celebration shall be recorded in the “Minutes of Constitution”; and, (c) Approve its bylaws in general assembly.
3) Apply to the Executive Branch and obtain its legal personality.
International NGDOs wishing to start operations in Honduras may do so through a representative office, in activities similar to those authorized in their country of origin, by requesting their incorporation before the corresponding authorities. These shall be governed as to their organization and operation according to the law applicable in the place of their incorporation, without prejudice that their local operation, as well as their local and foreign officials, are subject to Honduran laws.
The International NGODs that request their incorporation in order to be able to operate in Honduras, must comply with the following requirements:
1) Accompany the document that accredits their Legal Personality;
2) Prove that they are legally authorized to operate in the State of origin, accompanying certification of the respective document;
3) Submit certification of their Bylaws;
4) Attach certification of the act of appointment of the governing body according to its Bylaws;
5) Submit a financial statement for the current year and its assets and liabilities;
6) Provide proof of the appointment of its representative in the country, who may be a national or resident foreigner. All the required documents must be submitted duly legalized or apostilled and with the official translation in the case of a language other than Spanish. In case of being copies, they must be duly authenticated.
Thus, it can be summarized that the process of incorporation of a NGOD, will be in the first term, to comply with the incorporation requirements, which are specifically detailed in article nine of the Special Regulation Law for the Promotion of Non-Governmental Development Organizations, for the specific case of National NGODs. And in article eleven of the aforementioned regulation, where the specific requirements for the recognition of the legal personality of an international NGDO are contained.
Once these requirements have been met, the registration and consequently the granting of legal personality in the case of national NGDOs, and in the case of international NGDOs, the recognition by the State of Honduras of their incorporation in the country, in order to be able to operate in the Honduran territory through a representative office.
It is important to mention that there are also causes for which the State of Honduras may refuse to recognize the legal personality or incorporation in accordance with the provisions of Article eleven of the Special Law for the Promotion of Non-Governmental Development Organizations:
Failure to comply with the requirements.
If the bylaws and/or regulations contain provisions that violate the Constitution and other laws of the country; and,
If the organization attempts to register under the name and logo of another already registered entity.
However, any NGDO, in accordance with the aforementioned law, may resort to administrative and/or judicial instances when, by virtue of a resolution issued by the competent authority, it considers its interests and rights to be affected.