September 3rd, 2008 by Editor
At the end of a workshop held by The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) and the German Freidrich Naumann Foundation supported by the European Union in the framework of the Egyptian Alliance for the freedom of NGOs on 19/8/2008 at lawyers club – Alexandria governorate , representatives of NGOs at Alexandria ,AL Behira and Al Gharbia governorates called for enacting a new law for NGOs replacing Law No. 84/2002. to release the freedom of associations through facilitating the procedures of registration only by notifying the administrative body without the need to obtain prior permission .Also the new law helps to remove legal and administrative obstacles facing NGOs work .
Representatives of NGOs welcomed the idea of the campaign to amend the current law of NGOs and enacting an alternative law ,some of the representatives announced their approval on the suggested project for the alliance ,while others confirmed tentatively their agreement on the project as they will send their notes to EOHR . They called for holding further meetings for NGOs representatives in the three governorates to discuss and study the submitted proposals concerning the draft law , also they called for the necessary of involving representatives of the Ministry of Social Solidarity in these meetings, as well as the need to open a dialogue with the institutions of the state to discuss the various constraints faced by civil work in Egypt .
Mrs. Nashwa Nashat , director of research and publishing and project manager at EOHR , clarified that the workshop aims at discussing the alternative draft law for NGOs and the challenges facing civil work in the three governorates (Alexandria, Al Behira, Al Gharbia ) on the following levels :
— Civil sector and government sector.
— Civil sector and the security bodies.
— Civil sector and its interior problems .
— Civil sector and international organizations.
Mrs. Nashwa gave a background on the Egyptian alliance as she indicated that the Egyptian Alliance for the Freedom of NGOs falls within the framework of EOHR’s campaign for NGOs rights and freedoms and in its efforts to amend Law No. 84 / 2002, in collaboration with the German Freidrich Naumann Foundation supported by the European Union. The campaign began its work in March 2008. It includes north and south governorates to discuss the concept of civil work and the role of NGOs in supporting the community as a partner in development. It also examines the constraints and challenges which face NGOs and how to overcome them, and hopes to replace Law No. 84 of 2002. It is worth noting that the Egyptian alliance held its first meeting in Cairo governorate in July in the presence of the NGOs of 4 governorates ( Cairo – Helwan Giza – Kaliobia).
As for the goals of the Egyptian alliance , Mrs. Nashwa clarified that the alliance aims at enacting a new bill to replace Law No. 84 of 2002 to fall in line with the international standards concerned with human rights notably on the establishment of NGOs, which are based on launching the Right to Organize and the right to establish associations for all citizens without conditions. These standards were ratified by the Egyptian government in accordance with Article 151 of the Constitution . Also the alliance aims at freeing NGOs through removing the legal, financial and administrative obstacles imposed on their work. Also, the bill will ease the procedures of registration through allowing notification to the administration without the need to obtain a prior permission. The bill ensures the role of NGOs in decision-making, and will establish an equal relationship between them and the state. This will foster the building of a strong civil society capable of contributing to the promotion of democratic values and human rights.
She added that the alliance will hold its meetings on the following four levels :
I: Civil society activists, human rights workers, and representatives of NGOs in Cairo and other governorates.
II: Civil society activists, human rights workers, and representatives of NGOs in Cairo and other governorates and professors of law and political science.
III: Civil society activists, human rights workers, representatives of NGOs in Cairo and other governorates and representatives of the Ministry of Social Solidarity.
IV: Civil society activists, human rights workers, representatives of NGOs in Cairo and other governorates, and members of the People’s Assembly and Shura Council.
As for the challenges of civil work in the three governorates ,
participants of the representatives of NGOs agreed that the challenges which encountered their work represented in the following :
A – legal challenges:
— Registering NGOs through a long administrative procedures the matter which impedes the activity of associations and affects the ability of the founders to continue the process of registering .
— The absence of promoter legislative environment that encourage the civil work .
B – Administrative challenges:
— The Dominance of the executive and administrative bodies on the civil activity and NGOs as they often ignore the importance role that NGOs play .
— The non-activation of some articles of the NGOs law, especially that given some exemptions such as exemption from 50% of the consumption of electricity, water and telephones .
C – Organizational and institutional challenges:
— The low level of institutional and organizational for the majority of NGOs which are not able to perform their mission and communicate effectively with suppliers , government , the private sector and local communities.
–The non-effectiveness of general ,regional and qualitative federations to raise the level of NGOs and help them to overcome their problems and support their institutional and organizational capabilities.
— The lack of awareness among many individuals, especially young people concerning the concept of civil work and volunteerism concept .
— The weak voluntary contributions for the private sector concerned with charitable deeds , which has impacted negatively on the work and activity of NGOs.
— The executive bodies failure to help the NGO to achieve their objectives , this is due to the lack of executive bodies awareness on the importance of NGOs .
D – Financial challenges:
— The difficulty to find a suitable premises for many NGOs, especially after the high rent values as the aids and donations offered to civil society organizations are still limited .
At the end of the workshop, representatives of NGOs recommended that registering NGOs should be through notifying the administrative body since submitting the papers of the establishment , also dissolving NGOs should be only through the normal judiciary and executive authority has to lift its grip and eliminate restrictions imposed on NGOs .
In conclusion, project manager invited participants to join the alliance and participate in its meetings in Cairo through signing the final founding document ,as 19 associations announced their joining to the alliance .
New members for the alliance:1. EGYPTIAN CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE BUILDING AND CREATIVE CHILD – ALEXANDRIA
2. ABU BAKR AL SEDIK ASSOCIATION FOR LOCAL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT -KAFR AL-DAWAR – AL BEHIRA .
3. BUSINESSWOMEN ASSOCIATION -AL BEHIRA .
4. ISLAMIC CHARITABLE ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIETY ABU ALMTAMIR -AL BEHIRA .
5. SOCIAL DEFENSE ASSOCIATION – AL BEHIRA
6. PRAISE ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIETY AL BEHIRA
7. THE ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT .
8. AL BAKIA ISLAMIC ASSOCIATION AL BEHIRA
9. THE ASSOCIATION OF DEVELOPING SOCIETY FARHASH VILLAGE – AL BEHIRA
10. AL SHAMS ASSOCIATION FOR DISASTER MANAGEMENT AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT -KAFR AL-DAWAR – AL BEHIRA.
11. AL SAYEDA AL AZRAA ASSOCIATION FOR THE CARE OF GIRLS – AL BEHIRA
12. WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION – AL BEHIRA
13. AL WAKIL CHARITABLE ASSOCIATION FOR SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT KAFR AL-DAWAR AL BEHIRA .
14. ISLAMIC THOUGHT DEVELOPMENT AL BEHIRA .
15. AL WATAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIETY AL BEHIRA
16. AL HANA ASSOCIATION FOR WOMAN DEVELOPMENT AND ORPHANS CARE AL BEHIRA .
17. NOOR AL ISLAM ASSOCIATION -ABU HOMS – AL BEHIRA.
18. OM AL KORA OF HUMANITARIAN SERVICES -AL BEHIRA
19. SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION – ABU HOMS – AL BEHIRA.
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