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US rights organisations urge Obama to take stand against Egypt’s NGO law - Daily News Egypt

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US rights organisations urge Obama to take stand against Egypt’s NGO law

Organisations send letter to US president on Egypt’s “crackdown on NGOs” ,as the registration deadline for NGOs under “highly restrictive” law approaches

Eleven US-based organisations and individuals wrote a letter to US President Barack Obama on Friday urging him to “engage preventively and use all available means to make clear to President Al-Sisi that there will be serious consequences if there is a further crackdown on NGOs”, Human Rights Watch reported.

Their requests come in light of the upcoming 10 November deadline for NGOs to register under the controversial, and “highly restrictive” 2002 NGO Law on Associations.

The signatories also requested the US president to “make clear the consequences of enforcing such a restrictive law are a central concern for the US-Egypt bilateral partnership”.

As the letter stated, dozens of independent organisations are expected to be shut down due to not having been granted permits by the Egyptian government. Egyptian authorities have undertaken a policy of increased repression of civil society over the past 18 months.

In addition, the 2002 Law grants Egyptian authorities the power to shut down, freeze assets, block funding, confiscate property, and reject the governing boards of any organisation. Many organisations that are critical about the performance of the current government, especially its human rights record, will feel the consequences of the law.

“The law clearly violates international freedom of association standards,” the letter read.

The letter was signed by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Center for Journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom House, Foreign Policy Initiative, Human Rights First, and the Project on Middle East Democracy.

The signatories demanded that the Obama administration not take “a ‘wait-and-see’ approach to this serious threat,” adding that Obama should “make good” on his recently stated commitment to, in his own words, “stand with the courageous citizens and brave civil society groups who are working for equality and opportunity and justice and human dignity all over the world.”

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  • Reda Sobky

    At this time US credibility regarding either human rights or what is good for Egypt, is very weak. Actions like this are viewed as part of the grand deception that the deposed and the west pulled off to enable the takeover. Pressing President Obama to act now is not good for now or later. You can’t have the guy who just tried to destroy your home come and give you advice on how you should manage your household or community or threaten you that if your family did not respect each other and tolerate each other more, we will hurt you by refusing you the means to protect Egypt. This is how dark the perception of Obama is in Egypt. You can hear the echo of “shut your mouth Obama” every time his associates take a hit at Egypt for refusing and rejecting the grand plan for her role and future. I think Obama is well advised to stay away from pressing matters of integrity or freedom in the middle east, in deed, in most places especially those where a double game was played, overt and covert. The perception in Egypt is “state of war”, fifth column and consorting with the enemy, I can assure you that if the US perceived that of anyone, US or foreigner or actions similar to what the deposed is and has been doing, they would be the subject of strong covert and later, overt action. We are living in a playacting world of politics where one can look and act like the innocent flower and be the serpent under it, once perceived that way, it is hard to climb back to credibility and claim the high moral ground.

  • abdel khushab

    This appeal to President Obama is stupid and also ineffective. First, it is stupid because the US itself bans, limits, monitors, and otherwise restrains many NGOs (just look at the Wikileaks). Second, it will be ineffective because the US influence over Egypt is now very limited. Total US aid ($1.5 billion) comes to less than 1 percent of Egypt’s GDP, while the economic part of that assistance (only $250 million) is less than one-tenth of one percent of the GDP. The military part, $1.3 billion, mainly goes to American suppliers (90%) and they will start howling if their incomes are cut.

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