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Political parties and civil society groups oppose Egypt’s NGO law

December 12, 2016 at 5:08 pm

Four political parties and 22 civil society groups in Egypt have issued a joint statement in which they reject a draft national regulation bill passed by Parliament at the end of November. The statement called on President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi not to ratify the law and called on Parliament to make amendments to the bill in line with the Egyptian Constitution, reported Al-Ahram newspaper.

The signatories believe that the bill is a clear encroachment and violation of the constitutional rights of individuals and civil society organisations. They warned that the proposed legislation contradicts Egypt’s international obligations as a UN member state, along with its bilateral relations with other countries as well as the European Union.

Last month, Amnesty International advised the Egyptian government not to ratify the new bill. The human rights body described the law as “the most repressive of multiple drafts seen by Amnesty International since 2011; it is far more restrictive than the current Mubarak-era NGO law on associations.” It added that signing the new NGO bill into law would be a “death warrant” for Egyptian rights groups.

The bill has also come under serious criticism from Human Rights Watch. In its comments last month, HRW insisted that, “If this law passes, it would be a farce to say that Egypt allows ‘non-governmental’ organisations, since all would be subject to the security agencies’ control.”