They say, "Our right to act is based on universally-recognised freedoms of speech, assembly and association, on our contribution to democratic processes, and on the values we seek to promote." But democracy is undermined, not promoted, when transnational moral corporations headquartered in the global North, accountable to no people (much like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund), promote their "values" in the global South. Even though a few of them have come to occasionally criticize problems (such as violations of prisoners' rights) of some governments of the North, a majority of their targets are still in the South. The ideology that the empire of NGOs cannot do without is one that would have us believe that people of the South need help of people of the North but not vice versa -- a fundamentally racist, imperialist ideology.
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri put it memorably in their book Empire (Harvard University Press, 2000):
What we are calling moral intervention is practiced today by a variety of bodies, including the news media and religious organizations, but the most important may be some of the so-called non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which, precisely because they are not run directly by governments, are assumed to act on the basis of ethical or moral imperatives. . . . Such humanitarian NGOs [e.g., Amnesty International, Oxfam, Medecins sans Frontieres, and other orgs for relief work and human rights protection] are in effect (even if this runs counter to the intentions of the participants) some of the most powerful pacific weapons of the new world order -- the charitable campaigns and the mendicant orders of the Empire. (pp. 35-6)While Hardt and Negri do not reject the empire and its "charitable campaigns and the mendicant orders" outright, we should.