Al Shehab Institution for Comprehensive Development

Egyptian Civil Society Organizations condemn the violations practiced against NGOs

Monday 25 March 2013 by Al Shehab institution for Comprehensive Development

Cairo, July 25 2011

Egyptian Civil Society Organizations condemn the violations practiced against NGOs

The undersigning organizations express their extreme worry about the governmental attitude towards the Civil Society while it was expected that the Ministry of Social Justice and Solidarity – as well as the whole cabinet – would take the initiative of opening the channels of dialogue with this important sector and supporting its role during the transitory period. However, the reality contradicts these expectations and proves that the current government is pursuing the same bureaucratic and oppressive policies against these organizations. Moreover, the government is seeking to implement additional barriers in front of the freedom of association, besides marginalizing the participation of CSOs in all the circles of dialogue that were established after January 25 by responsible bodies in the country. This is backed by a fierce media campaign against the sources of funding of NGOs.

Egyptian Civil Society Organizations have played an important role for over twenty years under a quite authoritarian, oppressive and undemocratic regime in raising the awareness of citizens about their socio-economic, political, cultural and citizenship rights denouncing the violation of these rights as well as adopting a firm stand against the American hegemony over Egyptian policies and the Zionist occupation and practices in Palestine as was clearly worded by its representatives during Durban Conference on Racism in 2001.

Despite the obstacles they remain confronted to, Civil Society Organizations are still attempting to build bridges of interaction with the current government while the later did not respond up to date to the request for a meeting addressed by over 70 NGOs to the Minister of Social Justice and Solidarity over two months ago. The only response to this request was the establishment of a commission by the Ministry in order to introduce additional constraints in the law regulating NGOs under the pretext of improving this law. Furthermore, the Ministry of Justice has created another commission in order to open an inquiry about the means of funding of these organizations.

In this context, it is worth mentioning that the commissions cited above are totally similar in their formation to the practices witnessed under the “previous regime” towards NGOs, i.e., no clear terms of reference about their roles, mandate, mechanisms and authorities.

Several tangible violations were perpetrated lately including the refusal of registration for new organizations, infinite delays in granting authorizations to receive funds and the recent objection of the Ministry on the terms of the Nelson Mandela award granted by the World Alliance for Citizens (CIVICUS) to the New Woman Foundation for its activities related to the freedom of association since 2007.

Accordingly, the undersigning organizations request that the government removes the restrictions imposed to CSOs and human rights activists in order to enable these actors contributing in operating the change called for by the revolution and implementing a peaceful transition of power towards a civil government freely elected by the people. We also request freedom for the Egyptian Civil Society Organizations impeded in their march by the so many administrative constraints included in Law 84/2002 and we reconfirm here that any negative or more repressive amendments to this Law will represent a recession and a backlash in the process of democratic change.

Signatories:

- The Arab Organization for Human Rights

- The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

- The Association of Researchers in Egyptian Universities and research Centers.

- The Egyptian Association for Democratic Development

- The Egyptian Association for the Enhancement of Community Participation.

- Our Society Organization for Development and Human Rights.

- “Maakom” Association for Social Services.

- The Arab Network for Human Rights Information.

- The Association of Alternative Development.

- Better Life Association for Comprehensive Development in Mynia.

- “El Shehab” Foundation for Comprehensive Development

- The Arab Foundation in Support of the Civil Society and Human Rights.

- The New Woman Foundation.

- Women and Memory Foundation.

- The Egyptian Foundation for Family Enhancement.

- The Egyptian Foundation for the Enhancement of Childhood.

- “Awlad El Ard” Foundation for Human Rights.

- The Foundation for the Freedom of Thinking and Expression.

- Helwan Foundation for Community Development (Bashayer)

- The Arrow of Trust Foundation in Ismailiah

- “Ishraka” Center for Women’s Rights.

- The Union Center for Development and Human Rights.

- The Land Center for Human Rights.

- The Arab European Center for Human Rights and International Law – Regional Office/Cairo

- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

- Cairo Center for Development

- “El Nadeem” Center for the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Violence.

- “El Andalus” Center for the Studies of Tolerance and Fight Against Violence

- “Habi” Center for Environmental Rights

- The Center of United Journalists

- “Hisham Mubarak” Center for Law and Legal Aid

- The Center for Appropriate Communication Technologies (ACT)

- Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination

- The Arab Association for Criminological Reform

- “Nazra” for Feminist Studies

- The Association for the Enlightenment and Enhancement of Education

- The Egyptian Association for Refugees

- The Arab Coalition in Support of Darfour

- The Association of the Team of Article 57 for Human Rights

- The Arab Program for Human Rights Activists

- The Foundation for Egyptian Women Legal Aid (CEWLA)

- The Egyptian Center for Socio-Economic Rights


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