NGOs bill signed into law
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi signed the new NGO bill into law yesterday, Al Shorouk reports. The bill, which was approved by the House of Representatives back in November, is already out on the Official Gazette. The law will regulate the work of some 46k non-governmental organizations, which have one year to comply or face jail terms of up to five years. As before, the law gives the state the power to decide who can set up an NGO and for what purpose. It also stipulates that donations of more than EGP 10k “must be preapproved. If no approval is granted within 60 days the request is automatically denied,” Reuters reports. The law would also give a new regulatory body the authority to govern field work and to ensure that an NGOs work is supportive of the state’s “plans, development goals and priorities.” The story is getting widespread attention in the international press, with the Associated Press and the New York Times also running takes on the issue.
Look for this issue and others like it to be framed in context of next year’s presidential election. From the NYT’s lede: “strict new regulations on aid groups stok[e] fears that his government intends to accelerate its harsh crackdown on human rights activists before a presidential election scheduled for next year.”