News

Egypt’s Parliament Passes Controversial NGO Law

Egypt’s Parliament Passes Controversial NGO Law

egypt parliament

Egypt’s parliament passed the controversial NGO law on Tuesday amid criticism from local and international rights groups concerning regulations and “restrictions” imposed by the new law on civil work.

The House of Representatives prepared a draft NGO law and presented it for discussion on Nov. 14. The next day, it had approved all 89 articles of the law despite criticism voiced by a number of political parties and civil society organisations.

The parliament then sent the draft law to the State Council, a judicial body that reviews legislation, which approved the draft on Monday.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a statement earlier on Monday regarding the draft law, saying that it would “effectively prohibit independent non-governmental groups in the country by subjecting their work and funding to control by government authorities, including powerful security agencies.”

“Egypt’s parliament is trying to dodge public scrutiny by rushing into force a law that would effectively ban what remains of the country’s independent civil society groups,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at HRW.

Parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal  stated in Tuesday’s session that the parliament “responded to many of the demands voiced by founders of civil society organisations,” adding that he was confident the new law serves the needs of NGOs and safeguards Egypt’s security.

HRW, however, said the newly passed law resembles one proposed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government in 2014 “and shelved after broad criticism.”

The new law goes even further, according to HRW, as it sets a maximum prison sentence for violating the law to five years, whereas the previous one did not provide for prison sentences.

It also creates a 10-member government regulatory committee, which would include representatives from the Defence and Interior Ministries as well as the General Intelligence Service, with the authority to examine field research before it is published and decide on whether to approve agreements between local and foreign groups, including funding.

Among the criticism voiced by rights groups earlier in November is that the law requires NGOs to register under “broad conditions,” which for example stipulate that the organisation doesn’t engage in activity that conflicts with national security and public order.

It will also “give the competent administrative body (as of yet undefined) the power to determine whether an association’s activities correspond with the needs of society and development plans,” the statement said.

The new law would govern the practice of more than 46,000 local and 100 foreign groups working in Egypt, according to government estimates.

The law still needs to be ratified by the president in order to come into force.

HRW called on president Sisi to decline to sign the legislation, and said that the government should prepare a new draft with input from independent non-governmental organizations.

The Ministry of Social Solidarity had prepared a draft NGO law, that was later dismissed by the parliament in favour of another draft prepared by one MP and backed by more than 200 members.

This content is by Aswat Masriya.

UK Court Allows British Woman to Adopt Girl 'Found in a Box' in Egypt's Luxor
UN World Tourism Organization Urges UK to Return Flights to Sharm El-Sheikh

Subscribe to our newsletter


News
@AswatMasriya_En

Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy. en.aswatmasriya.com

More in News

Egypt’s Christians Live in Good Conditions, Freely Exercise Rituals: Angela Merkel

Egyptian StreetsFebruary 27, 2017

Egypt Parliament Rejects Calls to Abolish Death Penalty

Egyptian StreetsFebruary 27, 2017

Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali Becomes First Muslim Actor Ever to Win an Oscar

Aya NaderFebruary 27, 2017

Egyptian MP Files Motion to Extend Presidential Terms from 4 to 6 Years

Egyptian StreetsFebruary 26, 2017

700 Sentenced to Year in Prison in ‘Rabaa Dispersal’ Case for ‘Insulting Judicial System’

Egyptian StreetsFebruary 26, 2017

British Foreign Minister Visits Egypt Amid Calls to Shed Light on Human Rights Situation

Seif GhallabFebruary 25, 2017

More than 300 Coptic Christians Flee Egypt’s North Sinai

Egyptian StreetsFebruary 25, 2017

Tourists Visiting Egypt Face Increased Visa Fees

Egyptian StreetsFebruary 25, 2017
Egyptian Streets is an independent, young, and grass roots news media organization aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Egyptian and Middle Eastern streets, and to establish an engaging social platform for readers to discover and discuss the various issues that impact the region.

© 2017 ES Media UG. All Rights Reserved.