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Sunday, 13 January 2019

Gov’t to invite foreign NGOs to take part in national dialogue to amend NGOs Act

LEGISLATION WATCH- Foreign NGOs will be consulted on a revised NGOs Act: The Social Solidarity Ministry plans to invite foreign NGOs operating in Egypt to join a third round of consultations on potential amendments to the controversial NGOs Act, Social minister Ghada Wali said, according to Al Ahram. Local civil society and other organizations participated in two earlier rounds of talks in recent weeks.

National council to regulate NGOs seen as bureaucratic, unnecessary: Local civil society reps have suggested the amendments scrap the notion of setting up a national regulator for NGOs, said Talaat Abdel-Qawi, head of a national association for NGOs. Groups also recommended lowering licensing fees for NGOs, the elimination of a 60-day waiting period for forming a new group, and the scrapping of prison terms for violations of the act.

Background: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said in November that a committee would review the contentious NGOs Act, which passed the House of Representatives in November 2016 and was signed into law in May 2017. The current act gives the state the power to decide who can set up an NGO and for what purpose and sets restrictions on donations, among other provisions seen as choking the work of the groups. The Supreme Constitutional Court last year struck down as unconstitutional a clause that gave the social solidarity minister the power to disband the boards of NGOs.

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