July 19, 2019

On Wednesday Amnesty International criticised the recent NGO Law passed by the Egyptian parliament. 

Amnesty said the new law was aimed primarily at replacing the country’s most severe NGO law of 2017, but did little to end the horrific crackdown that human rights groups have faced in recent years.

“The new NGO Bill maintains some of the harshest provisions of the 2017 Act and contains only a handful of symbolic cosmetic changes to address human rights concerns,” the organisation said.

On Monday, the lower house of parliament approved a government-sponsored bill on NGOs.

In clear violation of the constitution, Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal forced the deputies present at the plenary session to take the final vote on the law, despite the presence of less than 150 deputies in the chamber, out of 595 parliamentarians.

Hours after the law was passed the Ministry of Social Solidarity called on the European Union to increase funding available to ministries and associations.

The law prohibits the practice of associations and any activities without a license from the government, in addition to not conducting opinion polls, publishing or making available their results, conducting field research or presenting their results to the public without the state reviewing them.

There are roughly 50,572 associations and foundations in Egypt. Some 30,402 are active and around 1,106 are inactive; 5,594 have been dissolved, 414 banned and 81 suspended, according to official estimates issued by the Ministry of Social Solidarity in January.