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Sunday, 7 April 2019

Gov’t to issue new legislation replacing 2017 NGO law

LEGISLATION WATCH- Gov’t looking to scrap controversial 2017 NGO Act? The government plans to replace the controversial 2017 NGO law with new legislation, Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wala said in a statement. The new law will permit the formation of new organizations and create a single body charged with supervising civil society groups. Foreign NGOs will be allowed to operate in the country following approval by the relevant minister, and local organizations will be able to open offices in other countries and receive donor money. Up to 25% of organizations’ boards of directors can be foreign residents. The new legislation will also scrap prison sentences for violations of the act.

Human Rights Watch called the scrapping of prison sentences a “positive move” and urged the government to make the draft law available to the public. “The government should quickly publicize this draft so that civil society, which will be most affected by the law, has an opportunity to review and comment on its contents,” it said in a statement.

Background: The NGO law passed in 2017 placed severe restrictions on Egyptian civil society, and was roundly criticized by local and international NGOs and in the global press. The government has been working on amendments to the law since the Supreme Constitutional Court judged one of its clauses unconstitutional in June 2018.

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