FILE - Prime Minister MostafaMadbouly - Egypt Today/Soliman al-Eteify FILE - Prime Minister MostafaMadbouly - Egypt Today/Soliman al-Eteify

PM issues decree to prevent seizing NGOs' funds

Wed, Dec. 19, 2018
CAIRO - 19 December 2018: Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly decided naming a number of civil society organizations to be "of public benefit". The decree protects the named on-governmental organizations from confiscating all or part of their funds.

The decision included some NGOs in Cairo, namely Nebny Foundation, Nida Society for rehabilitation of deaf and hearing impaired children in Al-Nozha district, and Gannat El-Khulood Charitable Organization in Manshiyat Nasser.

The decree also named Society Development Association in Nag Hammadi, Qena and Al-Hayah Association for Sciences and Health Services. In Sharkia governorate, the decision included Zagazig's El-Sharkeya Mothers Activity Association and Fajr al-Islam for Community Development.

The"public benefit" description has been also granted to a number of NGOs in many governorates including Fayoum, Suez, Upper Egypt's Luxor, and Dakahlia.

NGOs' 2017 law

In November 2018, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi agreed to form an official committee to discuss a law issued in 2017 governing the operation offoreign NGOs in Egypt, as a prelude to possible amending.

During his participation at the second edition of the World Youth Forum, the Egyptian leader said the law might be amended after several studies and discussions took place regarding its articles.

In June 2017, President Sisi signed law no. 70/2017 on NGOs and their operation in Egypt, as an annulment to the previous law no. 84/2002, after being passed by two-thirds of the Parliament in Nov. 2016.

The government had been working for years on a new law regulating NGOs in a bid to preserve the country’s security by monitoring NGOs, their activities and the funding they receive.

Provisions obliging NGOs to inform authorities before collecting and spending donations will bog them down and stifle their work, NGO workers say.

Under the new law, donations exceeding LE 10,000 must be pre-approved, while failure to inform authorities could result in jail terms of up to five years and fines of up to LE 1 million.

The law also gives the government power over deciding who can establish an NGO and for what purpose. It obliges groups to stick to the “state’s development plan”.

The law also bans domestic and foreign groups from engaging in political activities or anything that harms national security, public order, public morals or public health.
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