Al-Sisi rat­i­fies NGO Law six months af­ter par­lia­ment ap­proval

The cabi­net to de­cide on the new law’s by­laws within two months

The Daily News Egypt - - Front Page - By Sarah El-Sheikh

Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah Al-Sisi rat­i­fied on Mon­day the new Non-Gov­ern­men­tal Or­gan­i­sa­tion (NGOs) Law, which will re­place the Law no. 84 of 2002, six months af­ter its ap­proval in par­lia­ment.

The par­lia­ment ap­proved last Novem­ber the NGOs Law, drafted by the head of the par­lia­ment’s So­cial Sol­i­dar­ity Com­mit­tee, Ab­del Hady Al-Kasby, which con­tra­dicted an­other bill sub­mit­ted by the govern­ment.

How­ever, the NGO Law stip­u­lates that it must con­tain by­laws be­fore it could be ap­plied or im­ple­mented, which will be de­cided by the cabi­net within two months. The So­cial Sol­i­dar­ity Com­mit­tee will con­tinue com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the cabi­net to fi­nalise this is­sue.

Laws ap­proved in par­lia­ment should be sent to the pres­i­dent for fi­nal re­view in ac­cor­dance with con­sti­tu­tional Ar­ti­cle 123,which gives the pres­i­dent the right to re­ject or amend any law.

The law gives one year for civil or­gan­i­sa­tion from the date of the is­suance of the by­laws to ad­just their con­di­tions with the new law ar­ti­cles; oth­er­wise, it will be closed, ac­cord­ing to the So­cial Sol­i­dar­ity Com­mit­tee’s mem­ber Mo­hamed Abu Hamed.

Around 47,000 lo­cal as­so­ci­a­tions and 100 for­eign work­ers in Egypt are re­quired to work un­der the new law, which is ded­i­cated to reg­u­late the work of civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions. The law was ap­proved de­spite fac­ing crit­i­cism from civil so­ci­ety mem­bers, who be­lieved that the new law would elim­i­nate civil work as it in­cludes re­stric­tive ar­ti­cles.

NGOs made mul­ti­ple calls to the Min­istry of So­cial Sol­i­dar­ity to is­sue a law in or­der to reg­u­late the work of se­cu­rity forces and to limit the crack­down on their head­quar­ters. Dur­ing the few re­cent years, a num­ber of NGO work­ers faced a se­ries of pun­ish­ment such as travel bans, clo­sure or­ders, and be­ing ac­cused in NGO’s for­eign fund­ing case.

Sev­eral prom­i­nent NGO mem­bers are ac­cused of illegally re­ceiv­ing for­eign funds and are threat­ened to have their as­sets frozen fol­low­ing court ses­sions, due to an al­leged lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween their or­gan­i­sa­tions and the min­istry over fund­ing. There­fore, the new law stip­u­lated in Ar­ti­cle 70 on form­ing a body to be ded­i­cated for mon­i­tor­ing for­eign fund­ing sent to Egyp­tian or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The new law re­quests more pro­ce­dures from NGOs, such as those re­lated to their reg­is­tra­tion, pa­per­work, and start­ing cap­i­tal, all of which are viewed by civil so­ci­ety work­ers as com­pli­ca­tion for the fa­cil­ity of their work and en­ables the in­ter­fer­ence of se­cu­rity agen­cies.

For in­stance, ar­ti­cles re­lated to start­ing an NGO stip­u­late that in­di­vid­u­als should sub­mit an of­fi­cial doc­u­ment on the NGO’s work, in­clud­ing its location. A fee of EGP 10,000 should be paid to start the NGO and be pre­sented along with the crim­i­nal records of its founders and fi­nan­cial dis­clo­sures. Ex­ec­u­tive reg­u­la­tions may re­quire that more doc­u­men­ta­tion be sub­mit­ted.

This con­tra­dicts Ar­ti­cle 75 of the con­sti­tu­tion, which gives NGOs the right to es­tab­lish them­selves based solely on no­ti­fi­ca­tion.The amount of money re­quired for establishi­ng an NGO was high, which was viewed by the civil so­ci­ety as com­pli­cat­ing the process.

More­over, there are also re­stric­tions re­lated to NGOs’ work na­ture,as there are ar­ti­cles that stip­u­late that NGOs must pro­vide sur­veys or field re­search to the se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus for ap­proval be­fore pub­lish­ing it to the pub­lic.

Nonethe­less, sev­eral mem­bers of par­lia­ment ex­pressed op­ti­mism for the law, as­sert­ing that it will en­able NGOs will be­come more ef­fec­tive in of­fer com­mu­nity ser­vice and devel­op­ment.

Al-Sisi rat­i­fied on Mon­day the new NGO Law

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