The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) stated that they will not register with the Ministry of Solidarity under the proposed Law 84/2002, according to May Al Sheikh EIPR communications director.
In July, the Ministry of Social Solidarity warned all NGOs to register under a law, which permits the state to shut down any NGO at will. Assets, funding, and property can be frozen and confiscated, and members of the governing board can be rejected by the state. NGOs are requested to register with the Ministry of Social Solidarity by 10 November.
Al-Sheikh stated that EIPR has been monitoring the human rights violations since its establishment, including the ones performed by the state, “so we can’t register under a law with lots of questions around it that it forms bias to the state”.
She added that former minister of social solidarity Ahmed Al-Boraie held talks with rights groups about as part of drafting the NGOs law, back then, many rights groups agreed to the law, however, the current Minister Ghada Wali disregarded it.
Several human rights organisations based in Egypt have launched an awareness campaign calling on Egyptians to protect their ability to engage in civic action.
The campaign, called “My right…Your Right” and which involves organisations including (EIPR) ,the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), El Nadeem Center for psychological rehabilitation of victims of violence and torture and Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies announced the campaign in a statement released last Thursday.
Al-Sheikh said that it is an awareness campaign for everyone to know about the right groups and their purposes and that it answers all the questions on them.
The groups said the campaign seeks “to affirm that civic action is the right of every Egyptian citizen, which no authority may control or infringe upon”.
The campaign comes amid the state’s proposal for laws regulating the efforts and funding of NGOs in Egypt.
Such laws and regulations are an attempt to “to crush civil society and bring it under state control” said the campaign. It added that the enforcement of these statutes will create organisations that can neither defend the rights of citizens nor offer assistance in times of injustice.
The statement also highlighted “smear” tactics used by the government and pro-government media, which culminated in “accusations of treason”, creating “barriers between citizens and the idea of civil society”.
To counter these negative characterisations, the campaign affirmed that civil society has improved “the conditions of Egyptians in various areas”. It also said that it has provided support to poor and marginalised communities, promoted rights, and offered support to parliamentarians and the Egyptian judiciary.
“Researchers in civil society organisations are closer to the reality on the ground than state officials are,” the statement said. “Civil society does not operate apart from the state or Egyptian citizens but through personal contact with Egyptian people.”