Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (Cairo)

31 August 2014

Egypt: EOHR Calls for the Enactment of the NGOs Law of the Supreme Committee for Civil Work

press release

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expresses its concern for the continuing demand to the unregistered Civil Society Organizations (civil companies) by the Ministry of Social Solidarity to adjust their legal status, as per the NGOs Law number 84 of the year 2002.

In this regard, the law is rejected by the Egyptian NGOs and government, since the State realized that this Law is not in favor of the liberalization and independence of civil work in Egypt.

The decree of the Ministry of Social Solidarity, published on Al-Ahram newspaper, calls for limiting the organizations which work in Egypt, and has already taken legal force for the organizations registered with a procedure different from the one applied from the Ministry of Social Solidarity, exposing them to dissolution, liquidation, confiscation of their properties and ceasing of their projects.

It must be remembered that Law number 84 of the year 2002 issued during the former regime "Hosny Mubarak regime" was subjected to NGOs protest, since it put administrative restrictions that obstacle the work of civil organizations. Article 4 of this Law states the obligation for the organizations working in the field of NGOs, whatever their legal status, to limit themselves as per Law 84, and to be considered illegal in case of liquidation; The Administrative Authority shall appoint a judicial liquidator, and their funds and properties shall be confiscated.

Therefore, EOHR requires to stop the implementation of the articles of Law number 84 of the year 2002 and their enforcement, in particular for the unregistered NGOs, since civil work must be encouraged and made independent. Ensuring the exercise of freedom of expression, the establishment of organizations and peaceful assembly with efficacy, and ensuring the right to participate in political and public life is consistent with the obligations set forth in the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and it will let Egypt achieve commitment to the UPR report recommendations related to the United Nations Human Rights Council (OHCHR), including:

Ensuring the exercise of freedom of expression, the establishment of organizations and peaceful assembly with efficacy, and ensuring the right to participate in political and public life, which is consistent with the obligations set forth in the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Revising the procedures regulating the registration of NGOs ensuring their transparent, non-discriminatory, fast and easy implementation, consistently with the international human rights norms.

3. Acting in accordance with the norms contained in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders of the year 1998 and seriously cooperating with human rights organizations.

The Organization considers the draft law on NGOs issued by the Supreme Committee for civil work, established in pursuance of the decree number 164 of the year 2013 by Ahmed AlBaraai, the former Minister of Social Solidarity, on 30/7/2013, coordinated by the EOHR president Hafez Abo Saada, and in which participated 18 NGOs, the General Federation of NGOs, the Regional Federation and the Women's Union, the best draft law compared to all the other draft laws previously proposed by the government. The Draft Law states in Article 2 that it aims at promoting and stimulating the establishment of NGOs; supporting their participation in making, implementing and following-up plans for sustainable development; activating volunteering; promoting democracy and good governance in the context of human rights documents, data of the knowledge-based society and information technology. It also guarantees the freedom to establish NGOs and their independence without any direct or indirect obstruction by the public authorities. This is what will make Egypt achieve the international commitment, and a big part of the recommendations abovementioned. This Law also guarantees the independence of the organizations, maintaining their organizing role in the civil work.

EOHR calls upon Mr. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the holder of the legislative power to:

Stop procedures carried out by the Ministry of Social Solidarity to compel civil society organizations to register in accordance with the new law, which states that civil society and its organizations and associations are illegal and inconsistent with the Egyptian Constitution provisions on freedom of opinion and expression.

Approve the draft law issued by the Supreme Committee for Civil Work, established in pursuance of the decree number 164 of the year 2013 by Ahmed AlBaraai, the former Minister of Social Solidarity, on 30/7/2013, ensuring Egypt's implementation of the international obligations and the progress of the country in its path to democracy.

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