02 June 2017

Egypt's President approves controversial NGO law

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has signed a controversial NGO law which is now in effect in a move widely condemned by international NGO groups and members of the US Congress.

The legislation will create a new government agency, the National Authority for the Regulation of Non-Governmental Foreign Organisations, which will monitor all organisations receiving foreign aid to ensure that the funds are being spent in an approved manner. Non-compliance with the law will lead to one to five years in prison and a fine between LE50,000 and 1 million. NGOs have until May 30, 2018 to register with the newly formed National Authority for the Regulation of Non-Governmental Foreign Organisations.

Criticised

The bill was approved by the Egyptian legislature on the 14 November where it also received heavy criticism from human rights groups. Egypt has in general been under fire lately for violating human rights and trying to silence protests. In September UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association Maina Kiai, warned  that the Egyptian government ‘seems to be systematically attacking civil society in an effort to silence its voice.’ In June an Egyptian court froze the assets of five human rights activists and three NGOs for allegedly accepting unauthorised funds from foreign countries, according to a JURIST report.