Egypt’s President Sisi approves controversial NGO law

Making it harder for charities to operate in Egypt, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on 29 May 2017 signed into law a contentious new bill that regulates non-governmental organisations (NGO).

Highlights of the NGO law

The measure restricts NGO activity to developmental and social work and introduces jail terms of up to five years for non-compliance. Under the law, foreign non-governmental groups will have to pay up to 16,500 dollars to start working in Egypt and renew their permit on a regular basis.

It has also a provision of a national authority including army and intelligence representatives to oversee the foreign funding of Egyptian non-governmental organisations and the activities of foreign non-governmental organisations.

United Nations and New York-based Human Rights Watch has criticised the law. A human rights lawyer said that the law eliminates civil society in Egypt, whether human rights or development organisations. He said, according to the law, even no organisation can carry out or publish the results of a study or survey without prior permission from the State.

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