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29 Nov 2016

Mada Masr (Egypt)

Egypt: Parliament passes restrictive NGO Law

Update: Egypt’s Parliament passes new NGO law, 29 November 2016

Egypt’s Parliament hastily approved a new NGO law on Tuesday, just a day after the State Council concluded it has no indications of unconstitutionality. Various human rights organizations and political parties released a statement [attached below] criticizing the draft ... It has been clear for some time that the state is seeking to severely restrict the space for human rights work, with a war being waged in the form of numerous travel bans on rights defenders and the reactivation of the NGO foreign funding case, which was dormant since 2011…

The law drafted by Parliament introduces a new national authority […] whose mandate will not be limited to monitoring foreign organizations, but will also include the monitoring of any NGOs who receive foreign funding, and verifying that these organizations are spending the money they receive in approved ways. The authority, [which includes representatives from the ministries of foreign affairs, defense, justice, interior and the General Intelligence] must also be notified about locally sourced funding…

The penalties in Article 87 of the new law range from one to five years imprisonment, in addition to a fine of between LE50 thousand and LE1 million. Crimes considered punishable by five-year sentences include cooperating with a foreign organization to practice civil society work without obtaining permits, and conducting or participating in field research or opinion polls in the field of civil society without prior approval.

Joint statement by 22 CSOs on draft law