Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly issued a decision on Monday to dissolve 169 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) affiliated with the banned Muslim Brotherhood, state-run news agency MENA reported.
The dissolved organisations are located in nine governorates across Egypt, including Assiut, Sohag, Aswan, New Valley, Kafr El-Sheikh, Ismailia, Alexandria, Damietta and Qaliubiya.
The decision comes in accordance with the court order that banned the Muslim Brotherhood and consequently ordered the banning of activities and confiscating properties of organisations affiliated with the group, according to statements made by Waly.
“This is just part of an overall crackdown and a series of retaliatory measures taken by the regime. Most of these organisations are not even affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood at all; they were just helping the community,” said Wafaa Al-Banna, a Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson. “This is very tragic for Egyptians who are struggling to provide for themselves.”
According to Al-Banna, these measures have huge negative effects on the communities that relied on these organisations for medical help, educational services, food and money.
“In Egypt, you don’t have social security; everything is done privately and by civil society,” Al-Banna said.
Waly stressed that the ministry would only support civil society organisations that are “active and effective”. These would include those that adopt transparency in their work, with the aim of serving the local community as a partner in the development process.
Law 84/2002 gives the Egyptian authorities the power to shut down, freeze assets, block funding, confiscate property, and reject the governing boards of any NGO.
Following the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in November, the United Nations Human Rights Council handed the Egyptian government 300 recommendations. At least 20 of them concerned the status of NGOs in Egypt. The recommendations called for a revision of the current law, to bring it in line with provisions set out in the constitution and “international norms”.