Last Update 17:12
Draft NGOs bill 'more repressive' than Mubarak era law: CIHRS
The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) has claimed that draft legislation would dramatically restrict the work of civil society in Egypt if it is passed
Ahram Online, Thursday 7 Feb 2013
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1591
NGOs
File photo: Egyptian protesters chant anti-military ruling slogans during a trial of employees of pro-democracy groups charged with using foreign funds to foment unrest in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012 (Photo: AP)

Egypt's justice ministry held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss a new draft law regulating the work of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Egypt.

The Cairo Institute for Human Right Studies (CIHRS), which attended the meeting, voiced its opposition to the proposed law, perceiving it as oppressive and claiming it attempts to "nationalise civil society and turn it into a governmental body."

The new draft law reportedly restricts NGO activities to development and social care only, and deems human rights groups, as well as law and constitutional awareness organisations, “political parties.”

Since 2002 when a controversial law regulating such organisations was passed, NGOs have challenged legal restrictions and sought to resist intervention by the government and the security apparatus.

"The proposed law is more restrictive than Law 84/2002, which is currently in force. The draft law is more repressive and hostile to civil society organisations than all laws and draft bills under the rule of Nasser, Mubarak and the supreme military council," read a statement issued by CIHRS Thursday.

According to the CIHRS statement, the new draft bill allows the government to strongly interfere in organisations' daily activities, as well as opening the door for security control over the funding of particular activities.

The statement claims that the draft bill bans foreign funding of NGOs, as well as forbidding them from conducting opinion polls, field research or from carrying out any development or humanitarian-oriented activities without first obtaining consent from security forces.

According to CIHRS, the new bill also reclassifies civil society organisations as bodies that carry out humanitarian or social work, which could in effect render organisations that do human rights work, as well as youth and culture groups, illegal.

If passed, the statement says, the law will lead some NGOs to operate from overseas as was the case under some totalitarian regimes in Libya, Syria and Zimbabwe.

"The draft law bespeaks attempts by President Morsi's government to hold the whip over NGOs, bypassing all international human rights accords and standards of rights to form NGOs and stand up for human rights."

CIHRS urged the government to annul the draft law and adopt an earlier bill drafted by 56 rights and civil society groups instead.  

Anwar Esmat El-Sadat, member of the General Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations also raised serious objections to the law.

"The law pays no heed to the growing role of civil society organisations as central components of development in Egypt," he said .

The issue of foreign funding of NGOs in Egypt has become an issue of some controversy, with observers saying that the government uses the issue as a way to clamp down on civil society.

In December 2011, 17 offices belonging to several Egyptian and US non-governmental organisations suspected of "conspiring against the state" were raided by Egyptian security forces. Forty-three defendants were charged with receiving illegal funds, in a case that is still ongoing.

 Ezz El-Din Farghaly of the Regional Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations, earlier contended that out of the 40,000 organisations in Egypt, roughly 150 receive foreign funding.

Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Qandil is scheduled to meet Thursday with NGO representatives to look at the new draft bill.



Search Keywords:


Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 4000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
1



Amberal Whiste
09-02-2013 09:31pm
1-
1+
Foreign NGOs are the problem NOT Egyptian NGOs
You see Egypt wants to restrict the USA from putting their hands in the business of Egypt. they give aid money then expect to run the show. The Ngo history of USA is not a good one. BEWARE EGYPT. Egypt has the right to say NO to foreign Funding with STRINGS attached!
Email
 
Name
 
Comment's Title
 
Comment

© 2010 Ahram Online. Advertising