urlAmnesty International: Egypt hits ‘new low’ on NGO restrictions – 21 February 2013

… In a letter to the NGO the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Egypt’s Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs stated that no “local entity” is permitted to engage with “international entities” in any way without the permission of the “security bodies”, referring to instructions issued by the Prime Minister…

 

… “NGOs in Egypt already face staggering restrictions, but this instruction is a new low,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.  “It is a disturbing indicator of what may lie ahead for human rights groups in the government’s new law.”

 

… “We fear that the authorities are yet again trying to push through legislation to stifle civil society to prevent criticism…”

 

… In July 2011, the Egyptian government launched an investigation into the foreign funding of NGOs, leading to an unprecedented series of raids on both international and local civil society groups in December of that year…. Amnesty International has urged the authorities to drop the charges.

 

“The authorities must stop using independent civil society organizations as scapegoats for all the ills of Egypt… Banning contacts with international ‘entities’ invokes Mubarak-era practices that the current President had pledged to break with.”

 

“We’re urging the Egyptian authorities to ensure that any legislation to replace the NGO law is in line with international law, respects the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association, and is based on transparent consultations with human rights organizations and other NGO.”

 

… The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights was refused government permission last year to work on a freedom of association project.

Egypt Independent: Amnesty International report criticizes Egypt’s NGO restrictions – 21 February 2013

… Amnesty said the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights had received a letter from the Insurance and Social Affairs Ministry that stated no “local entity” is permitted to engage with “international entities” in any way without the permission of the “security bodies.”

 

… The ministry had finalized a draft law regulating the establishment and funding of NGOs, which is to be presented to Parliament for approval. The draft received criticism for its allegedly restrictive approach.

 

The draft law bans NGOs from taking part in political activities, and comprises articles that may considerably restrict their scope of work, particularly foreign organizations.

 

About 40,000 NGOs would be required to legalize their status and address funding issues retroactively.

Minister Nagwa Khalil. SOURCE: http://amwalalghad.com

Minister Nagwa Khalil.

And why would the Muslim Brotherhood-led Egyptian governments and Minister of Insurance and Social Affairs start targeting the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights?

Could have anything to do with the work they do as an NGO? As in recently?

 

“… EOHR expresses intensive worry for the deteriorated situation of all the international and local civil society organizations in Egypt and the funding-drying-measures that are badly affecting the human rights defense in Egypt… Chaining NGOs this way is a very bad signal confirming that there is a deliberate intention by the current government to restrict the civil work and eliminate the human rights defenders from the Egyptian map…”

If the Egyptian government wants to herald itself as a democracy, it needs to immediately end the crackdown on NGOs… or as I like to them: Egyptian citizens.