Updates: On November 29, Egypt’s Parliament approved a new, extremely restrictive draft law to govern civil society organizations (CSOs). ICNL reviewed a prior version of the draft, which is largely unchanged from the version most recently approved by Parliament. The draft law is intended to replace the restrictive Mubarak-era Law 84 of 2002 on Associations and Foundations, yet is in many ways the most oppressive draft seen yet in Egypt, containing the full catalogue of restrictions included in the current law and previous draft laws, as well as some novel ones. These include provisions
- requiring prior permission from the government before CSOs may accept foreign funding;
- requiring government permission before foreign CSOs may operate in Egypt;
- requiring government permission before CSOs may in any way work with foreign organizations or foreign experts;
- limiting CSOs’ activities including by requiring government permission to conduct surveys or publish reports;
- raising the fee for CSO registration and giving the government broad discretion to refuse to register a CSO; and
- heightening the penalties for violations of the law to include prison sentences and steep fines.
Upon the Parliament’s approval, the draft law is pending ratification by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Please check back in with the Civic Freedom Monitor for updates on the status of the draft law.
The draft law arrives in the context of a broader government crackdown on civil society in Egypt that has intensified over the past year. On September 17, 2016, a criminal court issued an order to freeze the personal assets of five of Egypt’s most prominent civil society leaders: Hossam Bahgat, the founder of Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR); Gamal Eid, Executive Director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI); Bahey el-Din Hassan, the head of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS); Mostafa al-Hassan, manager of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center; and Abdel Hafez al-Tayel, head of the Egyptian Center for Right to Education. The court also ordered the freezing of assets held by three CSOs: CIHRS, the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre, and the Egyptian Centre for the Right to Education. The asset freeze ruling came following the government’s reopening of Case No. 173/2011, in which seventeen individuals from a dozen Egyptian organizations currently face charges of illegally receiving foreign funding and harming national security. The case, the first phase of which resulted in a verdict closing five organizations and sentencing to prison forty-three CSO staff members in 2013, was reopened earlier in 2016.
In early 2011, mass protests across Egypt led to President Hosni Mubarak’s removal from power. Since then, the country has gone through several tumultuous years, with numerous annulled elections, changes in governing authority, and uncertainty in the legal framework. Under the auspices of an interim government installed by the military in the summer of 2013, a new constitution was finalized and approved by referendum in January 2014. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was elected president in May 2014, and parliamentary elections are expected to begin in October 2015 at the earliest.
Prior to and since the 2011 Revolution, civil society in Egypt has been governed by the provisions of the Law on Associations and Community Foundations (Law 84 of 2002) and the Implementing Regulation for Law 84 of 2002 (Ministry of Social Affairs [Now Ministry of Social Solidarity and Justice] Decree 178 of 2002), which implements and clarifies the provisions of the parliamentary law. Despite the highly restrictive nature of these laws, Egypt remains home to a relatively large and vibrant civil society sector.
While it may seem incongruous that so many NGOs and civil society groups can exist in a country whose NGO law is among the most restrictive in the world, the effect of the restrictive legal framework in Egypt has not been to ban civil society outright but rather to give enormous discretionary powers to the Ministry of Social Solidarity and other government agencies. In practice, this authority has been brought to bear against organizations and individuals that have crossed the government’s ‘red lines’ in pushing for social reform and political liberalization. Since the 2011 Revolution, the exact location of the ‘red lines’ has grown less clear, such that civil society organizations are increasingly forced to operate in a climate of fear, limitation, and uncertainty.
|Organizational Forms||Associations, Foundations, and Not-for-Profit Companies|
|Registration Body|| Ministry of Social Solidarity and Justice(associations and foundations)
Ministry Industry and Trade (not-for-profit companies)
|Approximate Number||40,000 (2014 estimate). This number from the Ministry of Social Solidarity refers to registered civil society organizations including associations, foundations, non-profit companies, law firms, and unions.|
|Barriers to Entry||Registration is mandatory; informal (unregistered) associations are prohibited. Grounds for denial of registration are overly vague, inviting the exercise of excessive government discretion.|
|Barriers to Activities||Requirements relating to the General Assembly meetings invite interference in internal affairs of the association. Grounds for dissolution are overly vague, inviting the exercise of excessive government discretion. Sanctions for legal violations include imprisonment.|
|Barriers to Speech and/or Advocacy||The law prohibits NGO engagement in “political activities” – which has been used to limit NGO advocacy activity. Criminal defamation laws have been used to silence critics of the Government.|
|Barriers to International Contact||Advance Ministry approval is required to join or affiliate with a foreign organization.|
|Barriers to Resources||Advance Ministry approval is required to receive foreign funds or funds from Egyptian individuals abroad.|
|Barriers to Assembly||Excessive force used against protesters, arbitrary detainment of participants in protests, and burdensome restrictions on organizers of protests.|
|Population||88,487,396 (July 2015 est.)|
|Type of Government||Republic|
|Life Expectancy at Birth||
Male: 71.06 years
|Religious Groups||Muslim (mostly Sunni) 90%, Coptic 9%, other Christian 1%|
|Ethnic Groups||Egyptian 99.6%, other 0.4% (2006 census)|
|GDP Per Capita (PPP)||$11,800 (2015 est.)|
Source: The World Factbook. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2016.
|Ranking Body||Rank||Ranking Scale
(best - worst possible)
|UN Human Development Index||108 (2015)||1 – 182|
|World Bank Rule of Law Index||31.3 (2014)||100 – 0|
|World Bank Voice & Accountability Index||14.8 (2014)||100 – 0|
|World Justice Project Rule of Law Index||110 (2016)||1 – 113|
|Transparency International||88 (2015)||1 – 180|
|Freedom House: Freedom in the World||Status: Not Free
Political Rights: 6
Civil Liberties: 5 (2016)
|Free/Partly Free/Not Free
1 – 7
1 – 7
|Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index||38 (2016)||177 – 1|
International and Regional Human Rights Agreements
|Key International Agreements||Ratification*||Year|
|International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||Yes||1982|
|Optional Protocol to ICCPR (ICCPR-OP1)||No||--|
|International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)||Yes||1982|
|Optional Protocol to ICESCR (OP-ICESCR)||Yes||1957|
|International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)||Yes||1967|
|Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)||Yes||1981|
|Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women||No||--|
|Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)||Yes||1990|
|International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW)||Yes||1993|
|Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)||Yes||2008|
|Key Regional Agreements||Ratification*||Year|
|Arab Charter on Human Rights||Yes||2004 (signed but not ratified)|
|African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights||Yes||1984|
|African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child||No||--|
|Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community||No||--|
|Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa||No||--|
|Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights||No||--|
* Category includes ratification, accession, or succession to the treaty
Egypt’s current Constitution was adopted by popular referendum in January 2014. The constitution contains numerous relevant rights protections, although most of these have yet to see significant enforcement in practice.
Relevant Constitutional provisions include:
Article 65 Freedom of thought:
Freedom of thought and opinion is guaranteed.
All individuals have the right to express their opinion through speech, writing, imagery, or any other means of expression and publication.
Article 70 Freedom of the press:
Freedom of press and printing, along with paper, visual, audio and digital distribution is guaranteed. Egyptians -- whether natural or legal persons, public or private -- have the right to own and issue newspapers and establish visual, audio and digital media outlets.
Newspapers may be issued once notification is given as regulated by law. The law shall regulate ownership and establishment procedures for visual and radio broadcast stations in addition to online newspapers.
Article 71 Freedom of publication:
It is prohibited to censor, confiscate, suspend or shut down Egyptian newspapers and media outlets in any way. Exception may be made for limited censorship in time of war or general mobilization.
No custodial sanction shall be imposed for crimes committed by way of publication or the public nature thereof. Punishments for crimes connected with incitement to violence or discrimination amongst citizens, or impugning the honor of individuals are specified by law.
Article 73 Freedom of assembly:
Citizens have the right to organize public meetings, marches, demonstrations and all forms of peaceful protest, while not carrying weapons of any type, upon providing notification as regulated by law.
The right to peaceful, private meetings is guaranteed, without the need for prior notification. Security forces may not attend, monitor or eavesdrop on such gatherings.
Article 74 Freedom to form political parties:
Citizens have the right to form political parties by notification as regulated by the law. No political activity may be exercised or political parties formed on the basis of religion, or discrimination based on sex, origin, sect or geographic location, nor may any activity be practiced that is hostile to democracy, secretive, or which possesses a military or quasi-military nature.
Parties may only dissolved by a judicial ruling.
Article 75 Right to establish associations:
Citizens have the right to form non-governmental organizations and institutions on a democratic basis, which shall acquire legal personality upon notification.
They shall be allowed to engage in activities freely. Administrative agencies shall not interfere in the affairs of such organizations, dissolve them, their board of directors, or their board of trustees except by a judicial ruling.
The establishment or continuation of non-governmental organizations and institutions whose structure and activities are operated and conducted in secret, or which possess a military or quasi-military character are forbidden, as regulated by law.
Article 76 Right to form syndicates:
The establishment of federations and syndicates on a democratic basis is a right guaranteed by law. Such federations and syndicates will possess legal personality, be able to practice their activities freely, contribute to improving the skills of its members, defend their rights and protect their interests.
The state guarantees the independence of all federations and syndicates. The boards of directors thereof may only dissolved by a judicial ruling.
Syndicates may not be established within governmental bodies.
Article 77 Trade unions:
The law shall regulate the establishment and administration of professional syndicates on a democratic basis, guarantee their independence, and specify their resources and the way members are recorded and held accountable for their behavior while performing their professional activities, according to ethical codes of moral and professional conduct.
No profession may establish more than one syndicate. Receivership may not be imposed nor may administrative bodies intervene in the affairs of such syndicates, and their boards of directors may only be dissolved by a judicial ruling. All legislation pertaining to a given profession shall be submitted to the relevant syndicate for consultation.
National Laws and Regulations Affecting Sector
Relevant national-level laws and regulations affecting civil society include:
- Constitution of Arab Republic of Egypt of 2014
- Civil Code (Law 131 of 1948 as amended)
- Commercial Register Law (Law 34 of 1976 as amended by Law 98 of 1996)
- Law on Associations and Foundations (Law 84 of 2002) [English] [عربي]
- Implementing Regulation for Law 84 of 2002 (Ministry of Social Affairs Decree 178 of 2002) [English] [عربي]
- Law on the Right to Public Meetings, Processions and Peaceful Demonstrations (Law 107 of 2013)
- Assembly Law of 1914 (Law 107 above did not replace this law, which is still on the books and may be used to impose additional penal sanctions)
Pending Legislative Initiatives
On November 29, 2016, Egypt’s Parliament approved a new, extremely restrictive draft law to govern civil society organizations (CSOs). Upon the Parliament’s approval, the draft law is pending ratification by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Please check back in with the Civic Freedom Monitor for updates on the status of the draft law.
Law 84 of 2002 allows for the creation of associations, foundations (i.e, non-governmental institutions), and unions. In addition, not-for-profit companies can be established by virtue of provisions in the Egyptian Civil Code and Corporate Code.
According to Law 84 of 2002, an association is a “group with a formal structure continuing for a definite or indefinite period and formed by natural or juridical persons, or both together, whose number is not less than ten in all cases, for a purpose other than gaining physical profit.” (Article 1)
A foundation or non-governmental institution is established where a fund is designated for a definite or indefinite period of time, for the realization of a purpose other than profit. (Article 56)
[The remainder of this report will focus on associations, as the association is overwhelmingly the most common organizational form.]
Public Benefit Status
Associations pursuing “general interest” purposes may be recognized as “associations of public benefit” by presidential decree, upon the request of the association or of the government-controlled General Union for Associations and Non-Governmental Institutions (Foundations). (Articles 48, 49) The criteria for attaining public benefit status are not clearly defined and the President’s decision not clearly guided by objective standards. According to Article 49:
Any association visualizing the realization of a general interest upon or after its foundation may be vested with the quality of public benefit, by decree of the President of the Republic, upon the request of the association, or of the administrative authority or the General Union for Associations and Non-Governmental Institutions, and the approval of the association in both cases.
According to Article 51 of Law 84 of 2002, public benefit organizations have access to direct government funding. In practice, many public benefit organizations have had close political links to the ruling party or President.
Barriers to Entry
Law 84 of 2002 includes of a number of legal barriers to the establishment of associations. First, the law requires that all associations be registered in order to operate; in other words, informal [unregistered] associations are prohibited. Second, the law includes vague grounds for denial of registration, thereby inviting subjective and arbitrary government decision-making. Registration can be refused if the association’s purposes “threaten the national unity,” for instance, or run “against public order and public attitude." The Ministry used these grounds in early 2015 to deny registration to the Foundation of the Victims of Abduction and Forced Disappearance, a non-profit foundation that supports victims of violent assault and abduction. Third, many international NGOs seeking to establish and register branch offices in Egypt have faced great difficulty in doing so.
Barriers to Operational Activity
Barriers to operational activity in Egypt take the form of governmental interference in internal affairs, vague grounds for dissolution, the imposition of harsh sanctions, and extra-legal harassment by security authorities.
First, Law 84 of 2002 expressly authorizes the Government to interfere in the internal affairs of associations. Specifically:
- The administrative authority has the right to call a General Assembly meeting (Article 25);
- The association must send a copy of the papers tabled before the General Assembly to the administrative authority at least 15 days before convening the Assembly (Article 26);
- The association must provide the administrative authority with a copy of the minutes of the General Assembly meeting within 30 days from the meeting (Article 26);
- The Minister of Social Affairs may appoint acting members of the Board of Directors where there are insufficient members to hold a meeting (Article 40); and
- The Minister may dissolve the board of directors if the board has not convened a meeting of the General Assembly for two consecutive years (Article 42).
Second, the law includes vague grounds for dissolution, thereby inviting subjective and arbitrary decision-making on dissolution decisions. Vague grounds include:
- Subscribing to or joining any club, organization, society or authority outside Egypt without first informing the administrative authority; and
- Threatening the national unity or public order or public attitude.
Third, Egyptian law makes harsh sanctions – including imprisonment – available for violations of the law. Conducting activities as an unregistered association, conducting activities that threaten the national unity, and receiving foreign funds without prior governmental approval are all examples of violations that could lead to the imposition of sanctions, including imprisonment. Certain provisions of the Penal Code, in particular Articles 86bis and 98, also penalize particular activities relating to associations.
Finally, the security apparatus in Egypt is known for interfering with associational activity. In December 2011, for instance, authorities raided and shut down the offices of six international and Egyptian organizations, and commenced a two-year trial of NGO employees marked by procedural violations. In December 2013, the offices of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights were raided and six employees detained and beaten. Since the Revolution of January 25, 2011, Egypt has also witnessed a number of concerted media campaigns against NGOs, aimed at discrediting human rights associations in particular.
Barriers to Speech / Advocacy
Egyptian law prohibits all “political activities” of NGOs. Regulations indicate that prohibited political activities include “advocating the program of one of the political parties, contributing to electoral campaigns, and putting forth candidates for office.” (Regulations to Law No. 84/2002 on Associations and Non-Governmental Institutions (Article 25)) The Egyptian Government, however, has not distinguished between a political campaign for office and public policy activities. One example is the case of the Egyptian Association Against Torture. The Administrative Judiciary Court refused to register the association on December 15, 2005, because the court decided that the group’s mission to pressure the government to eliminate torture in police stations and prisons was “political activity;” consequently, the association was prohibited from launching its activities.
Harsh defamation and insult laws, often involving criminal penalties, have also been used to silence critics of Egypt’s Government. This was the case prior to the 2011 Revolution and has remained the case afterwards, as countless provisions criminalizing defamation of public authorities in particular remain part of the Penal Code. This had led to legal charges against journalists and others, such as satirist Bassem Youssef, whose television show was famous for mocking Egypt’s military and political leaders. In addition to laws severely penalizing defamation and related offenses, Egyptian law includes other restrictions on speech, such as penalties for spreading false information or harming public morals.
Barriers to International Contact
Egyptian law requires advance approval from the Ministry of Social Solidarity in order to join any organization or society headquartered outside of Egypt. Egyptian authorities may prevent individuals (including association representatives and civil society activists) from traveling outside Egypt to participate in international conferences and meetings. Authorities may also prevent representatives of international organizations from entering Egypt.
Barriers to Resources
Law 84 prohibits any association from receiving foreign funds – whether from foreign individuals or from foreign authorities (including their representatives inside Egypt) – without advance approval from the Ministry of Social Solidarity. Securing ministerial approval may require a wait of two months or more, during which time the Ministry reviews the request for approval. The failure to secure approval can lead to dissolution. For example, on April 27, 2009, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) received a dissolution decree, alleging that the EOHR received foreign funding without authorization. The dissolution order reportedly came soon after EOHR published its 2008 Annual Report, which contained criticism of the Egyptian Government.
Sending funds from an Egyptian NGO to a natural or legal person abroad also requires advance approval from the Ministry of Social Solidarity. (The law makes an exception for scientific and technical books, magazines, publications, and brochures.) Law 84 applies the same sanctions for sending and receiving foreign funding without government approval.
Egypt’s Penal Code creates additional restrictions on foreign funding. Following amendments in September 2014, Penal Code Article 78 provides for expanded penalties on anyone who accepts foreign funds in order to conduct activities deemed harmful to Egypt’s national interests and unity. Article 78 punishes with life in prison and a steep fine anyone who receives funding or other support from a foreign source, with the intent to “harm the national interest,” “compromise national unity,” or “breach security or public peace.” The provisions impose the same penalty of a life sentence on anyone who gives or offers such support, or “facilitates” its receipt. Human rights organizations and activists fear that the vague language and broad terms of Article 78 could be used to prosecute them for activity that is critical of the government.
The barriers against foreign funding also apply to some categories of domestic funding. Specifically, the law requires that associations seeking funds from Egyptian individuals also secure advance approval from the Ministry. Presumably, the failure to do so carries with it the same risk of dissolution.
Barriers to Assembly
Since the January 25, 2011 Revolution it is estimated that more than 3,000 individuals have been killed in the context of demonstrations – the majority in instances of excessive use of force by authorities. Numerous individuals have been detained and charged with violating provisions of the law governing protests, even in the absence of any individual evidence against them; others are not charged at all, but spend extensive time in periodically-renewed pretrial detention.
On November 24, 2013, interim President Adly Mansour approved a controversial new law to regulate public assembly in Egypt, including marches, demonstrations, and public meetings of ten people or more. The law requires assembly organizers to notify the Interior Ministry at least three days before assembling, and allows the Ministry to ban protests or impose other harsh penalties, including imprisonment, for a range of vaguely defined acts such as “violating the public order,” “impeding the interests of citizens,” or “obstructing traffic.” The law also fails to place adequate restrictions on the use of force to break up assemblies. In the months since the law was issued, police have forcibly dispersed numerous peaceful protests; it is estimated that hundreds of individuals have been arrested and imprisoned under the new law. These include prominent activists such as Alaa Abd El-Fattah, a leader of the "No to Military Trials" campaign, who was arrested for organizing an unauthorized protest and sentenced in 2015 to five years in prison. Egypt’s Illegal Assembly Law of 1914 also remains in effect, and, together with various provisions of the Penal Code, is often used to bring additional charges against individuals detained in the context of protests.
|UN Universal Periodic Review Reports||Universal Periodic Review 2014: Egypt|
|Reports of UN Special Rapporteurs||Egypt|
|USIG (United States International Grantmaking) Country Notes||Not available|
|U.S. State Department||2014 Human Rights Report: Egypt|
|Fragile States Index Reports||2015 Foreign Policy Fragile States Index|
|IMF Country Reports||Arab Republic of Egypt: Selected Issues: 2007
Arab Republic of Egypt: Selected Issues: 2005
|International Commission of Jurists||ICJ Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt August 2009
Egypt - ACIJLP Organizes the First Activities of its Campaign "Empowering Women to Hold Judiciary Positions in Egypt": 2006
|NGO Regulation Network Reports||Egypt - Fast Facts|
|CIVICUS Civil Society Index Reports||Civil Society Index - Country Report for Egypt|
|International Center for Not-for-Profit Law Online Library||Egypt|
While we aim to maintain information that is as current as possible, we realize that situations can rapidly change. If you are aware of any additional information or inaccuracies on this page, please keep us informed; write to ICNL at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Egypt's parliament regulates NGOs in law activists says is repressive (November 2016)
Egypt's parliament overwhelmingly endorsed a law regulating non-governmental organizations on Tuesday that human rights groups and activists say effectively bans their work and makes it harder for charities to operate. The bill restricts NGO activity to developmental and social work and introduces jail terms of up to five years for non- compliance. It bans NGOs from conducting fieldwork or polls without permission or "from cooperating in any way with any international body without the necessary approval". The bill also stipulates that foreign NGOs be overseen by a regulating agency that includes representatives of Egypt's military, intelligence service and interior ministry.
Egypt parliament finally approves new NGO law (November 2016)
Two thirds of Egypt's MPs approved a new 89-Article law aimed at regulating the operations of NGOs in the country. After gaining the approval of the overwhelming majority of MPs, Abdel-Aal said Egypt's parliament has taken a historic move towards regulating the operations of NGOs on a new basis that would safeguard national security and prevents chaos.
New regulation mandates NGOs consult ministry security department on activities (August 2016)
In a letter sent to several nongovernmental organizations, the Ministry of Social Solidarity has detailed a new regulation whereby NGOs must consult with the ministry’s security department regarding all planned activities. According to the letter, registered NGOs must notify the security department of any planned visits, conferences, or panels, and least one and a half months in advance.
Retaliation still continues against the backdrop of “Foreign Funding” case (May 2016)
Seven leading human rights groups issued a joint statement condemning the escalated measures undertaken by Egypt’s government against independent human rights organizations.
Egypt human rights defender accused of belonging to terrorist group (April 2016)
Ahmad Abdallah, a prominent human rights defender and the head of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), was arrested in Egypt and accused by the government of a series of offenses including, “belonging to a terrorist group.” ECRF has among other things worked to document an alarming rise in forced disappearances in Egypt over the past year.
UN experts urge Egypt to end ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders (April 2016)
Three UN human rights experts raised alarm at the continuing crackdown on human rights defenders and civil society organizations in Egypt. They warned that many NGOs have been closed down, and human rights defenders have been interrogated by the security forces, subjected to travel bans, and had their assets frozen in retaliation for their legitimate and peaceful human rights work.
Judge imposes gag order on NGO foreign funding case (March 2016)
Investigating Judge Hesham Abdel Meguid issued a gag order on the recently reopened case against local NGOs accused of unlawfully accepting foreign funds, prohibiting any type of media outlet form publishing anything on the case other than statements issued by the presiding judges, until investigations are complete.
Nazra for Feminist Studies summoned for investigation in re-opened NGO case (March 2016)
Nazra for Feminist Studies received summons for investigation in the re-opened 2011 case against a number of NGOs for operating and receiving foreign funding without a license. In the original case, filed in 2011, 43 staff from foreign NGOs were tried and sentenced to prison in June 2013; local NGOs were implicated in the investigation but not brought to trial at that time. 2011
NGO case reopened against Hossam Bahgat, Gamal Eid and others (March 2016)
A criminal court in Cairo will review a ruling to freeze the assets of four defendants, including Hossam Bahgat and Gamal Eid, pending investigations into charges that they illegally received foreign funding for their NGOs, in a case dating back to 2011. Bahgat, founder of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), and Eid, Director of Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), are also barred from leaving Egypt.
Rights lawyer accused of managing illegal operation (March 2016)
Rights Lawyer and Director of the United Group law firm Negad al-Boraie was interrogated for three hours on six charges including managing an illegal organization. According to a statement issued by United Group, Boraie has been charged with establishing an unlicensed entity with the intent of "inciting resistance to authorities, implementing human rights activities without a license.. and deliberately spreading false information with the purpose of harming public order or public interest."
Egypt dissolves 57 NGOs for "(Muslim) Brotherhood ties" (September 2015)
The Ministry of Social Solidarity ordered the closures of NGOs on the basis of the their alleged "ties with the Muslim Brotherhood," which was banned in 2013. This brings the number of NGOs dissolved by the government in 2015 to 380.
Renewed Crackdown on Independent Groups (June 2015)
Egyptian authorities have brought increasing pressure to bear on independent NGOs in Egypt that receive foreign funding or have criticized government policies, including by means of official harassment, travel bans, and threats of prosecution or violence.
Detentions, terrorist incidents increased in the first quarter of 2015 (April 2015)
According to a report by the Democracy Index, affiliated with the Cairo-based International Development Center, 1,353 protests took place in the first three months of 2015, 40 percent of which were related to economic and social demands. The report said that both the number of detentions by Egyptian authorities and the number of terrorist incidents increased in the first quarter of 2015 as well.
Concerns over human rights and civil society discussed before UNHRC (March 2015)
A group of 19 Egyptian human rights organisations forming a coalition named The Forum of Independent Human Rights Organizations (The Forum) delivered a speech before the UN's Human Right's Council (UNHRC) raising concerns over the human rights situation in Egypt. The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) delivered the speech on behalf of The Forum. It pointed to “several instances demonstrating how human rights defenders and civil society organisations are being targeted, whether through security crackdowns, unfair prosecutions, travel bans, extrajudicial killings, and repressive legislation”. The CIHRS speech asserted that “thus far there has been no genuine political will to stop violations against human rights defenders in Egypt and uphold the work of rights groups”.
Memorandum to the President from the CIHRS on the Constitution, Law, and the Emancipation of Civil Society (September 2014
The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies sent a memorandum signed by 23 other rights organizations to President Sisi, seeking the withdrawal of restrictive draft NGO law released by the Ministry of Social Solidarity, and cancellation of the Ministry's registration warning issued on 18 July 2014.
Egypt: Draft Law Threatens Independent Organizations (July 2014)
Human Rights Watch issued a statement condemning the draft law on NGOs released by Egypt's Ministry of Social Solidarity. Among other things, the draft law "would make all activities of associations.. subject to government veto," "empower the government and security agencies to dissolve existing groups, pending a court order, or refuse to license new groups if it decided their activities could 'threaten national unity.'"
The Confiscation of Wasla: A Dangerous Escalation in Harassment of Human Rights (June 2014)
In an escalation of the crackdown on rights groups, Egyptian security forces have confiscated Issue No. 72 of Wasla, a magazine issued by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), and arrested a worker at the press where the publication was being printed, charging him with possession of publications that call for the overthrow of the regime and which promote a terrorist organization. The worker will be held in pre-trail detention for four days pending investigations.
Egyptian president must reject flawed anti-terrorism laws (April 2014)
New counter-terrorism legislation set to be approved by Egypt's president is deeply flawed and must be scrapped or fundamentally revised, Amnesty International said. Two draft anti-terror laws, which were sent to interim president Adly Mansour on April 3 and could be signed off at any time, would give the Egyptian authorities increased powers to muzzle freedom of expression and imprison opponents and critics. "These deeply flawed draft laws can be abused because they include an increasingly broad and vague definition of terrorism," warned Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
Rights groups outraged by the raid of ECESR (December 2013)
A number of rights groups in Egypt condemned the raid by security forces of the offices of the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) in Cairo. Security forces raided the offices without a warrant, destroyed property, and assaulted and detained several staff members.
No Acknowledgment or Justice for Mass Protester Killings: Set Up a Fact-Finding Committee as a First Step (December 2013)
Thirteen Egyptian and international human rights organizations called on the Egyptian authorities on international Human Rights Day to acknowledge and seriously and thoroughly investigate the killing of up to 1,000 people by security forces dispersing Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins on August 14, 2013.
Egypt Warns Protesters Will Be Treated As Foreign Agents Ahead Of Military Celebrations (October 2013)
Egyptian authorities said anyone who protests against the army when the country celebrates the anniversary of an attack on Israel forces during the 1973 war will be regarded as agents of foreign powers. Presidential spokesman Ahmed al-Muslimani was speaking to the state news agency in anticipation of demonstrations by the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been staging protests against the army's ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July. Egyptian authorities tightened security around the country after clashes on Friday killed at least four people.
Egypt sentences American NGO workers to jail (June 2013)
An Egyptian court sentenced several dozen workers for non-governmental organizations, including Americans, to jail in a case that has infuriated the U.S. government and democratic activists around the world.The workers were accused of having illegal foreign funding. They denied any wrongdoing. The judge in the case also ordered the permanent closure of all the organizations involved.
NGO draft law ‘strikes fear’ into civil society (June 2013)
Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood is trying to stifle civil society while pursuing reconciliation with bastions of the previous authoritarian regime. The Muslim Brotherhood’s authoritarian sectarianism is evident in a new draft NGO law.The proposed legislation is perceived by many to be more repressive than its Mubarak-era predecessor….Activists say the draft law will allow undue state interference in the internal governance of Egyptian civil society and create new layers of bureaucracy by obliging NGOs to frequently report to various state bodies.
Ahmed Fahmi: NGO law fears unfounded (May 2013)
Ahmed Fahmi, President of the Shura Council, stated that the civil society law under discussion will not threaten organizations in Egypt and that foreign fears regarding the law are unfounded.He added that the new law would be balanced and provide increased transparency for organisations, and the discussion process would include voices from a broad range of Egyptians.
U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing: Egypt's NGO Law (April 2013)
An statement from the United States Department of State daily press briefing says: "We're deeply concerned with draft legislation that would severely restrict the ability of NGOs to work in Egypt, and we think that would move Egypt backwards. So this law would weaken civil society's essential role in government accountability and hamper the accountability of government in the eyes of the people."
Statement on Repressive NGO Law (February 2013)
On February 13, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) participated in a second meeting at the Ministry of Justice to discuss the new NGO law. During the meeting, CIHRS representatives received a copy of the draft law submitted by the Ministry of Local Development, overseen by Mohammed Ali Bishr, a member of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and a well-known leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Representatives of the Ministries of Justice, Social Affairs, and Local Development at the meeting confirmed that this was the law sponsored by the FJP. The CIHRS statement on the draft law is available here:
Court ruling to block YouTube is disproportionate and violates right to information (February 2013)
Article 19 is dismayed by a Cairo court ruling on February 9 ordering the Egyptian government to block access to YouTube for one month due to its continued hosting of the 14-minute trailer of the movie "Innocence of Muslims".
Final draft of NGO law sent to Cabinet (February 2013)
The Insurance and Social Affairs Ministry has finished its daft of amendments to the Civil Institutions Act and has sent it for review to the judiciary.
NGOs talk human rights violations with EU, US representatives (February 2013)
Thirteen local rights groups met with Stavros Lambrinidis, the European Union's special human rights representative, and Michael Posner, the US assistant secretary of state for democracy and human rights, to discuss rights violations in Egypt. The meeting at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies addressed freedom of expression, freedom of religion, sectarian tension, recent prosecutions on defamation of religion charges and the targeting of political activists, an institute statement said Wednesday. Participants objected to a draft law the government is considering that restricts demonstrations and civil society organizations.
Problematic NGO law About to Be Enacted (February 2013)
The final draft of the NGO law comes from Egyptian Minister of Social Affairs and Insurance, Nagwa Hussein Khalil, a holdover from the interim army-led government that ruled following the fall of Hosni Mubarak. She was the minister in charge of NGOs at the beginning of the nationwide crackdown on civil society. Some NGOs have advocated for legislation that would end state control over their work, but the ministry refuses to consider this proposition, Khalil said. The ministry does not intend to impose restrictions on Egypt’s roughly 41,000 NGOs or dominate them, but rather organise the sector so that it is more effective, she continued. According to Khalil, the amendments stipulate increasing the minimum number of founding members of such an association from 10 to 20 and increasing the minimum capital allocated to establishing the organisation from EGP 10,000 to EGP 250,000 to ensure the “seriousness” of the organisation.
Egyptian Lawyer on Trial for Working With ‘Illegal Organization’ (January 2013)
The second anniversary of the start of Egypt’s revolution has passed, which began as a series of mass demonstrations and ended with the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. In the aftermath of the uprising, many young Egyptians were eager to help their country’s transition to democracy. Two years later, people like Hafsa Halawa are realizing how difficult that transition can be. Because NDI was working with parties across the political spectrum, Halawa didn’t think her work was particularly controversial. But just after the election, she found herself in the middle of a diplomatic firestorm. Egyptian security forces raided the offices of more than a dozen NGO’s, including NDI. The NGO trial has been postponed until March. In the meantime, Halawa is trying to move on with her life, but finding it difficult.
Who funds Egypt's Islamists? (January 2013)
The apparent double standards of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood may be a factor in the growing public hostility toward the group. "In Egypt, a strange situation has emerged after the revolution," commentators observe. Political parties are subject to government supervision and required to divulge their funding sources - except for Islamist groups.
NGOs can apply to oversee Egypt parliament polls until 15 February: SEC (January 2013)
International and local civil society organizations can apply to supervise Egypt's April 2013 parliamentary elections until 15 February, the deadline for submitting applications to Egypt's Supreme Electoral Commission announced Wednesday.
Mostly forgotten, Egyptian trial of US NGO workers drags on (January 2013)
Sam LaHood and most of the other Americans accused of running illegal nongovernmental organizations fled the country last year. But 14 Egyptians and one American continue to face jail.
Egypt's Constituent Assembly to become an NGO (January 2013)
Egypt’s Constituent Assembly will become an non-governmental organization concerned with raising awareness about constitutional matters, the assembly’s former leader has said.
NGOs reject Morsi’s constitutional declaration (December 2012)
Twenty-five Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) filed a lawsuit at the Administrative Court on Saturday, demanding the constitutional declaration President Mohamed Morsi issued on Thursday be revoked. The president’s constitutional declaration stated, among other things, that Morsi’s decisions were above judicial review. The NGOs explained in a statement that what Morsi released is not a constitutional declaration, but an administrative decision, which thus falls under the jurisdiction of the administrative judiciary.
Demonstrations in Tahrir Call for Annulling Constitutional Declaration (November 2012)
Political powers rejecting the recent constitutional declaration organized demonstrations in Cairo and governorates calling for annulling the constitutional declaration. Thousands massed in Tahrir Square in protest under the rubric "the Revolution has people to protect it." Demonstrations called for renewing the formation of the constitution drafting panel and issuing a new legislation organizing a retrial of the icons of the deposed regime without any sort of protection or immunity.
Commissioner Füle in Egypt: Civil society has key role in delivering reform (November 2012)
There is hardly an area of public life where Civil Society does not offer an added value, the EU's Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy Štefan Füle has told the Civil Protection Civil society round table in Cairo, ahead of the meeting of the EU-Egypt Task Force today. “I think the role of the Civil Society lies in generating ideas, being a bridge between society and the authorities, having an important role in monitoring and delivering on the reform process," he told his audience.
Campaign assembles NGOs against draft constitution (November 2012)
The Civil par Excellence campaign held a press conference at the Egyptian Cultural Club to announce their plans to defend the civil state of Egypt. The campaign rejects the draft constitution and government restrictions on civil society. 230 NGOs have joined the campaign so far.
Rights groups say excluded from EU talks (November 2012)
More than 20 Egyptian rights groups said authorities excluded them at the last minute from a meeting Tuesday with a visiting European Union delegation aimed at boosting ties with the 27-nation bloc. The rights groups alleged the decision reflects the disregard for human rights of the government of Egypt's new Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, and a continuation of the policy of the ousted regime of Hosni Mubarak and the country's transitional military rulers. They also lamented the lack of political will to strengthen human rights or involve the groups in decision making.
The nationalization of Egypt’s civil society (November 2012)
The legal framework governing civil society organizations is restrictive, discussions continue to create a new law but consensus seems unlikely.
Under new draft law foreign funding still requires permits (October 2012)
The Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs has drafted a new NGO law to organize and regulate the activities of old and new NGOs working in Egypt, according to Al-Ahram daily. According to the new draft law, local NGOs will not need licensing from the Ministry and will be recognized by notifying the Ministry, whereas foreign NGOs will still need to be registered and take permission from the Ministry to pursue their specified activities.
Egypt court to hear testimony in NGO foreign funding case in November (October 2012)
A Cairo criminal court is slated to hear testimony on November 3 in the case of dozens of foreign NGO workers accused earlier of operating in Egypt without government permission.
Fix draft Constitution to protect key rights (October 2012)
The Egyptian Constituent Assembly should amend articles in the draft constitution that undermine human rights in post-Mubarak Egypt, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to members of the Constituent Assembly. The draft provides for some basic political and economic rights but falls far short of international law on women’s and children’s rights, freedom of religion and expression, and, surprisingly, torture and trafficking.
Civil society has its own draft law (October 2012)
In Mid-March of 2011, 60 civil society organizations submitted a draft law pertaining to the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) under then Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, while Dr Gouda Abdul Khaleq was in charge of the Ministry of Social Solidarity.
Protection sought for political and non-governmental organizations (October 2012)
Not only does the April 6 Movement reject the draft non-governmental organization (NGO) law, they want the creation of an additional law that would protect their rights as a political action organization (PAO). “The law we are talking about is a political action organization law,” said April 6 leader Mohammed Adel. “We do not want to be like a political party, we want no control from the Ministry of Finance and we want the freedom to work with any organization we choose.”
Arab League, OIC proposals out of step with progress on freedom of expression (September 2012)
Human Rights First said that Arab League and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) calls for the international criminalization of blasphemy mark a step backwards in progress toward tolerance. Such measures were also woven into remarks delivered Wednesday by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who made his debut before the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly. Human Rights First helped to defeat such measure at the United Nations last year and now says that efforts to reignite this debate are out of step with the basic human right of freedom of expression and U.S. foreign policy. They are also out of step with the positions that OIC States accepted to adopt last year at the United Nations.
Alarm raised over Egypt constitution (September 2012)
The troubled process of drafting Egypt's post-revolutionary constitution has turned rancorous, as secular-minded politicians and intellectuals forcefully object to what they call hard-line Islamists' efforts to use the document to impose Islamic law.
Intellectuals and rights advocates blast draft Egypt Charter on Freedoms (September 2012)
Egypt's National Committee for the Defense of Freedom of Expression and Creativity (NCDFE) issued a statement on Monday condemning the manner in which Egypt's new constitution was being drawn up. The committee – a newly established initiative headed up by Novelist Bahaa Taher bringing together a number of political figures, media figures and intellectuals – expressed its "deep concern" over the inner workings of the Constituent Assembly's Freedoms Committee, which, he said, has led to a "crisis." Egypt's Constituent Assembly has been tasked with drafting the country's first post-Mubarak national charter. The NCDFE went on to warn that the constitution, currently in the process of being drawn up, will not be representative of the Egyptian people or their culture.
Government studies new law to regulate foreign capital (September 2012)
The Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Ashraf Al-Arabi said the government is considering drafting a new law to regulate the flow of foreign capital to Egypt including investments or funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Rumors that judge of NGO case was sent to criminal court are false, say officials (August 2012)
Court officials on Monday denied rumors that Judge Abdel Moez Ibrahim has been ordered to appear before the criminal court. He is the former head of the Cairo Court of Appeals who is accused of allowing employees from civil society organizations to leave the country while still under investigation for receiving illegal funds.
Status of Muslim Brotherhood legal (August 2012)
Minister of Social Affairs Nagwa Khalil has said that the regularization of the Muslim Brotherhood group in accordance Law 84/2002 regarding NGOs will take time. “The current status of the group does not violate the law,” she said, adding that the group is taking actions to adjust its position, refusing to give more details on such procedure.
"We respect right to peaceful protest and demonstration," says Muslim Brotherhood (August 2012)
A day before demonstrations were scheduled against the Muslim Brotherhood, the Secretary General of the Muslim Brotherhood Mahmoud Hussein reiterated the group’s commitment to the freedom of opinion and peaceful demonstration guaranteed to all Egyptians.
US concerned about freedom of speech in Egypt, Bahrain (August 2012)
The United States says it is concerned about new restrictions on freedoms of expression in Mideast allies Egypt. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the Obama administration is "very concerned" by reports that the Egyptian government is moving to restrict media freedom and criticism, including preventing the distribution of a newspaper and suspending a satellite television channel that feature opponents of President Mohamed Morsi.
Architect of Egypt’s NGO crackdown bows out (July 2012)
The architect of Egypt’s crackdown on U.S.-funded pro-democracy non-governmental groups – and a holdover of Hosni Mubarak’s regime – will not serve in the new cabinet, reports say.
Funding for NGOs in decline following crackdown (July 2012)
Egyptian NGOs have been seeing their sources of funding decline following a security crackdown on NGOs earlier this year. Donors to NGOs, both in Egypt and abroad are donating less money while some NGOs have been forced to shut down. Rana Gaber, who works for the NGO the Egyptian Youth Federation sayes there are countries that are “holding their funds waiting to see what will happen in the future”.
NGOs see funding drying up as international donors grow scared (June 2012)
Ibrahim Mamdouh, the international relations director at the local NGO Humanitarian Relief and Rehabilitation, saw a call for proposals on the website of an international donor agency and sent the agency a list of humanitarian projects that needed funding. But his NGO, which supports vulnerable individuals reeling from human and natural disasters, was turned down. “The agency said it had already stopped offering financial support for Egyptian NGOs,” Mamdouh said. “They declined to give reasons for this, but I think this agency and others are afraid to be accused of offering illegal support for NGOs in this country.”
NGO case ruling could widen crackdown on civil society, says American defendant (June 2012)
The former senior program officer for Freedom House’s Middle East and North Africa programs accused in the NGO funding case expects the Egyptian government to lead a broader crackdown on civil society organizations if the court convicts the suspects. Sherif Mansour, an American citizen, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that after the difficulties of working for an international NGO in Egypt, he is thinking about establishing a local organization to support democracy.
Draft law will ensure Mubarak re-trial, MP Hamzawy (June 2012)
Liberal MP Amr Hamzawy announced Wednesday on his Facebook page that he has formed a judicial committee made up of NGO workers and members of the Free Egyptian Party political and legal team to draft legislation facilitating the re-trial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
Trial of NGO workers set to resume in Egypt (June 2012)
The trial of nongovernmental organizations accused of operating illegally in Egypt is slated to resume as the case fuels a diplomatic rift between the United States and Egypt. A total of 43 workers are on trial after authorities targeted 10 NGOs in a series of December raids. The defendants include 17 foreigners -- 10 Americans, three Serbians, two Germans, a Norwegian and a Palestinian. The rest are Egyptians.
NGO dispute means fewer monitors for Egypt vote (May 2012)
Egyptians will go to the polls to choose their first democratically-elected president. A continuing legal dispute over the role of U.S. civil society groups means there will be fewer monitors to observe that vote. Egypt's historic presidential campaign comes to a close with the first round of voting to choose a new civilian leader. The Elections Commission says there will be monitors from the Arab League, the African Union, and the European Commission. But there will be far fewer Americans observing this vote because of the pending prosecution of members of three U.S. non-governmental organizations charged with improperly using funds and failing to register with authorities.
EOHR raises critical analysis for the NGO’s draft law made by Muslim Brotherhood (May 2012)
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) has received the NGOs draft law made by the Human Rights’ Committee of the Egyptian People’s Assembly, which includes many restrictions on the actions of the local and international civil society organizations, especially on funding issues. Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, the head of EOHR, stated that the draft law includes many negative aspects.
Representatives of NGOs reject new draft law (April 2012)
On April 23, 2012, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) held a meeting to discuss the governmental draft law for local and international civil society organizations. The meeting was held at the headquarters of EOHR and leaders of local civil society organizations attended. The Egyptian Ministry of Social Insurance had declared months ago that it was preparing to amend Egypt's Law no. 94 on Associations, but many local and international civil society organizations have aggressively campaigned against it.
Egypt bans NGOs using the "State Sovereignty" argument (April 2012)
The Egyptian government has refused to license several US-based civil society groups, including a prominent election-monitoring group, raising questions about the likely integrity of the presidential polls in May. The official MENA news agency quoted a government source saying the Insurance and Social Affairs Ministry rejected the applications because the NGOs' activities were "inconsistent with the state's sovereignty."
Coptic Orphans NGO denied permission to work in Egypt (April 2012)
After recently being one of eight NGOs denied registration with Egyptian government, the humanitarian group Coptic Orphans is speaking out on what many see as an unjust move on behalf of an increasingly Islamic-run government. Coptic Orphans is a nonprofit non-governmental organization founded in 1988 by Nermien Riad which seeks to offer support to Coptic, paternal orphans and their families in Egypt. Today, the organization "works through a network of 400+ church-based volunteers in Egypt," according to its official website.
Joint press release by 25 Egyptian human rights organizations (April 2012)
25 Egyptian NGOs issued a press release on the draft NGO Law in Egypt. According to the press release, the law in the current form will lead to nationalization of CSOs and transform them into a government institution.
U.S. pressing Interpol to deny Egypt's request to arrest NGO workers (April 2012)
The Obama administration is petitioning Interpol to deny Egypt’s request for the arrest of NGO workers accused of illegally operating democracy programs and stirring unrest to prevent further escalation of the worst crisis in U.S.-Egypt relations in three decades.
Cairo refused LE21 million in foreign NGO funding since January 25th uprising (March 2012)
The Insurance and Social Affairs Ministry has refused the requests of 20 NGOs since the 25 January uprising to receive about LE21 million from abroad. The ministry refused the requests on the grounds that the requests violated the Law 84/2002, the civil society organizations law. The ministry argued that most of the money was allocated to activities outside the scope of normal NGO work.
Recent opinions about the restrictions on CSOs in Egypt (March 2012)
Read the opinion on recent restrictions for CSOs in Egypt by Fayza Aboulnaga, the Egyptian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, and responses by David Kramer, director of Freedom House and Kareem Elbayar, a lawyer for the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law.
American activists fly out of Egypt, defusing row (March 2012)
U.S. pro-democracy activists flew out of Egypt on Thursday after the authorities lifted a travel ban, a move that is likely to defuse the worst row between Washington and Cairo in decades. Egyptian authorities had accused the campaigners, including the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, of working for groups receiving illegal foreign funding and prevented them from leaving the country.
Amendments to Law on Associations and Foundations to undercut foreign funding (February 2012)
According to a report from Al Masry Al Youm, the Ministry of Social Solidarity is preparing amendments to the Law on Associations and Foundations (Law 84 of 2002) that will “tackle loopholes” used by Egyptian CSOs “to obtain foreign funding to serve foreign interests.” The amendments have not been made public. Read the report in Arabic.
Egypt: Govt-U.S. standoff could hit 40,000 NGOs (February 2012)
The ongoing crackdown by Egypt's military rulers on a handful of civil society groups accused of receiving illegal foreign funds has far-reaching implications for the estimated 40,000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the Arab world's most populous country. Thousands of NGOs - engaged in everything from nature conservation to eradicating illiteracy and sheltering women from domestic abuses - are colleteral damage in a row that threatens Egypt's longstanding relationship with the U.S.
Egypt judges in NGO funding trial resign (February 2012)
The judges in the trial in Egypt of 43 people, including 19 Americans and other foreigners, over the funding of non-governmental groups, have resigned. The case caused a serious rift with the United States after police in Cairo raided several NGOs in December. Some of them are backed by U.S. groups. Egypt says they received illegal foreign funding and stopped the accused from leaving the country. Egyptian media said the three judges resigned in "embarrassment". The precise reasons for the move remain unclear.
NGO workers could face 5 years in prison, Egyptian judges say (February 2012)
Egypt’s prime minister said Wednesday that the government would not drop a criminal probe into U.S.-funded pro-democracy organizations, and officials said the Egyptians and Americans charged in the case could face up to five years in prison. The remarks by the investigative judges handling the case — the most detailed characterization of the government’s case against the pro-democracy workers to date — did not suggest that authorities had uncovered nefarious or subversive activities.
Egypt names 19 Americans to face trial on NGO funding (February 2012)
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s son is among 43 people charged in Egypt after a probe into foreign funding of non-governmental organizations. Sam LaHood, who works for the International Republican Institute, and Julie Hughes, the Egypt country director for the National Democratic Institute, another Washington-based group, are among those who face prosecution, Judge Ashraf el-Ashmawy told reporters in Cairo today.
Egypt officials see end to U.S. NGO stand-off (February 2012)
Egypt's government will back down in a stand-off with Washington over U.S. funding for civil society groups because allowing the dispute to drag on could jeopardize aid worth billions of dollars, two Egyptian officials said. Nineteen Americans are among 40 foreign and local activists banned from leaving Egypt and referred to a criminal court, accused of managing unlicensed non-governmental organizations and receiving foreign funds without official approval. Some of the U.S. citizens, belonging to the U.S.-funded National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI), sought refuge in the American Embassy.
EOHR submits the NGOs draft law to the Parliament (January 2012)
On January 31, 2012, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) submitted the draft law of the civil society organizations to the Egyptian government and the parliament instead of law no. 84, year 2002. EOHR held an open discussion meeting for the Egyptian civil society organizations on January 19, 2012 in order to launch the “Free Civil Society” campaign, which aims at drafting a new code for NGOs instead of code no. 84, year 2002. The meeting, held at the headquarters of EOHR, was participated by political and human rights activists, representatives of civil society organizations and political parties and professors of law.
NGOs reject draft law regulating their activity (January 2012)
Former Mubarak regime figures are leading the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces into “more confrontations” with civil society, Egyptian NGOs said in a joint statement Wednesday. “We will allow the Ministry of Social Solidarity and security bodies to exercise control over civil society activity ... the SCAF must realize that its support for or failure to curb the defiance of these Mubarak regime loyalists will intensify the clash between it and democratic and popular forces in Egypt, at the heart of which is civil society,” the statement, signed by nine rights groups, reads.
Harassment in Egypt (January 2012)
On December 29, Egyptian security forces and troops launched an unprecedented raid on 17 offices of American and U.S.-funded civil-society groups, including stalwarts of democracy promotion such as the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute and Freedom House. Computers and other equipment were confiscated, and local staff members were issued summons for interrogation. Egyptian officials seeded local media with stories that portrayed the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as part of an international conspiracy to interfere in the country’s politics.
HRW Statement: Dismantle Tools of Repression (January 2012)
Egypt’s newly elected parliament should urgently reform the arsenal of laws used by the Mubarak government to restrict freedoms, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today outlining priority areas for legislative and institutional reform. These laws were used to curb free expression and criticism of government, limit association and assembly, detain people indefinitely without charge, and shield an abusive police force from accountability.
Egypt's NGOs must be protected (January 2012)
Civil society organizations working in Egypt have been raided because of their funding sources and activities in recent days. On December 29th, Egyptian officials raided the offices of about ten international Egyptian non-governmental organizations, or NGOs. The United States has called for the Egyptian government to immediately end the harassment of NGOs, NGO staff, return all property, and resolve this issue immediately.
U.S.-funded NGOs in Egypt ‘shocked’ by raid on offices, deny funding parties or groups (January 2012)
A raid by the Egyptian security and military troops on offices of some local and international non-governmental organizations a week ago came as a shock to some of these organizations. The United States reacted sharply when Egyptian authorities swooped in on some 17 non-governmental groups last week, including the U.S.-funded National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI), both loosely affiliated with the leading U.S. political parties.The U.S. government hinted it could review the $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Cairo if the raids continued, underscoring Washington’s concern over political developments in a country seen as the lynchpin of the Middle East.
Unwanted: NGOs in post-revolution Egypt (November 2011)
Egypt's NGOs receive $167m from abroad (October 2011)
Tough post-revolution reality for NGOs in Egypt (October 2011)
NGOs face smear campaign ahead of elections (October 2011)
Minister rejects US funding of unregistered NGOs (October 2011)
Egypt NGOs may fade if denied foreign funding (September 2011)
Authorities to investigate funding of unregistered NGOs (September 2011)
Egypt ups pressure on foreign funding to NGOs (September 2011)
Civil society seeks to fight back against govt attacks (August 2011)
US defends aid as Egypt probes NGO foreign funding (August 2011)
Government accused of suppressing freedoms (July 2011)
Human rights reform an urgent priority (June 2011)
Civil society a force in Egypt’s democratization (April 2011)
New Egyptian law criminalizes protests (March 2011)
Follow the Egyptian money (February 2011)
NGOs in Egypt adjust to turmoil (February 2011)
Does Egypt need a new constitution? (February 2011)
The foregoing information was collected by ICNL LLC Middle East / North Africa Regional office in Amman, Jordan.