A group of civil society representatives and human rights activists demanded the annulment of law No. 70 of the year 2017 that regulates the affairs of civil society during a round table discussion under the name "Why we need a new civil society law" at EOHR's office headquarters in Cairo, Egypt. The participants also urged the government to draft a law in compliance with international human rights standards that gurantees the independence and freedom of the civil society organizations in Egypt.
Dr. Hafez Abu Seada the president of EOHR read out a statement that outlined how law No. 70 is in complete violation of the Egyptian constitution as well as international human rights treaties and conventions. Abu Seada added that the law limits NGOs to development related activities which practically makes human rights activism illegal, which in turn presents a major blow to human rights defenders in Egypt. Abu Seada demaned that the government has to return to the draft law that was formulated by the Ministry of Social Solidarity in cooperation with a group of major Egyptian NGOs including EOHR, as this draft law adequetly corresponds to standards set by international human rights treaties.
The participants also discussed the appeal that disputes law No. 70 submitted by EOHR to the Administrative court. The appeal is set to be examined on the 16th of November, 2017. EOHR stressed in the appeal that the law No. 70 and the method by which it was passed in parliament contradicts articles 121 and 75 of the constitution.
The appeal submitted by EOHR requested that articles 2, 9, 14, 19, 21, 26, 27, 31, 87 and 88 of the law No. 70 be refered to the Supreme constitutional court for their contradiction with articles 4, 5, 9, 53, 75, 93, 94, 97, 99, 100, 101, 1212, 123, 139, 144 and 159 of the Egyptian constitution.
The participants underlined the fact that the law violates the right to freedom of association that is stipulated by article 22 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as article 75 of the Egyptian constitution.
The participants added that the law renders Egypt unable to fulfill its international moral and legal obligations, despite the fact that article 93 of the Egyptian constitution obliges Egypt to adhere to international human rights treaties that Egypt is party to, it also gives those treaties the power of law in Egyptian courts.
The participants concluded by calling upon other Egyptian NGOs and civil society organizations to join EOHR's appeal at the State Council's Administrative court, and to work on creating a new law that safeguards and enhances the values of human rights in Egypt.