The Ministry of Social Solidarity called on civil society and human rights groups “to respect the democratic consultative process” amid continuing criticism of a draft law regulating non-governmental organisations in Egypt.
The ministry pointed to three sessions held by the General Federation of NGOs where the draft law was discussed with the affected parties. The ministry adding that a workshop would take place in Sohag for Upper Egyptian NGOs and another would be held with the National Council for Human Rights.
The ministry statement this week emphasised its commitment to the constitution while drafting the law and its “full commitment to the international treaties endorsed by the Egyptian government.”
The Ministry of Social Solidarity also stated the importance of the NGO law’s approval by the upcoming elected parliament “which represents the nation”.
“The ministry is keen to encourage foreign NGOs with credibility and experience, to work in Egypt to support community development in the light of the laws governing their work,” it added.
Earlier this summer 23 NGOs called on the government to “reconsider its policies towards NGOs”, describing the new draft law as “oppressive”.
Director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights (CIHRS) delivered a memo to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb calling on the government to take “serious and immediate measures” to stop the continued decline of the state of human rights in Egypt.
“But it has not yet fulfilled those commitments,” it added. “Instead, the government has raided several local and international NGOs and referred some of their employees to trial, some of which were imprisoned.”
In June 2013 a court sentenced 43 NGO workers to varying sentences on charges of receiving foreign funding. The court also ordered the closure of five foreign NGOs and the seizure of their assets. This has attracted widespread international condemnation.