140 NGOs in Port Said governorate call for opening a dialogue with representatives of governmental bodies to amend law No.84 /2002
September 4th, 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 Saturday 30/8/2008 at Farah beach – conferences hall – port said governorate . Representatives of some NGOs in Port Said , Damietta, Ismailia and Suez governorates confirmed the magnitude of the challenges facing civil work in Egypt, particularly the relationship between NGOs and governmental bodies represented in the Ministry of Social Solidarity . They called for opening a broad dialogue with the representatives of government to agree on such specific mechanisms to overcome these challenges ,leading to enacting an alternative bill for NGOs replacing Law No.84/2002 .
Participants confirmed that the challenges which face the civil work in the above mentioned governorates represented mainly in the pressure exercised by the staff of the Ministry of Social Solidarity on NGOs which suffer from a new series of continued procedures such as sudden visits and counting for everything inside the headquarters of NGOs such as furniture and books and movables as the ministry can accused NGOs’ officials of dispersing these belongings if they are not in the headquarters of NGOs .
At the beginning of the workshop Mrs. Nashwa Nashat , director of research and publishing and project manager at EOHR , gave a background on the Egyptian alliance objectives and mechanisms 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.
As for the challenges facing civil work in Egypt, Mrs. Nashwa clarified that the theme of NGOs raises several problems and controversial issues such as the problem of funding , the interior problems and the relationship with the State .By reviewing the reports of human development issued by the united nations or the Egyptian government , we find that these reports deal with the principle of “partnership” between the civil society and the State , however the present situation refers to the contrary on the level of laws or legislations or practices all as the same . She added that although all Arab countries -which have a written constitutions- stipulated the right to establish associations and the right to peaceful assembly for achieving legal purposes in accordance with the international covenants , we find that dealing with associations through the legislations that organize these mentioned rights are totally inconsistent with international covenants and written constitutions .As for the Egyptian government , it restricts the existence of activities of associations and civil society organizations through the different legislations which set to organize the work of civil society such as Law No. 84/2002 .This law carries several procedures or tools that provide the administrative bodies the ability to impose restrictions on associations such as the administrative right to dissolve the associations in accordance with Article 42 of the law ,besides article 2 which gave the administrative judiciary the right to discuss the cases of civil associations . Also the law gave the administrative bodies the right to monitor and intervene in the work of NGOs starting from discussing the conditions of establishment and the conditions of membership and the election of their board of trustees ending with monitoring practices and budgets and how to exploit and invest their funds.
Participants confirmed that the most prominent challenges facing the civil society is represented in the relationship with the administrative body represented by the Ministry of Social Solidarity as follows:
1 –Association announcement
The law grants the Ministry of Social Solidarity the right to accept or decline the registration of associations . Also the law organized the procedures taken by associations in case of rejection which is often occurred due to substantial reasons or in formal reasons ,and among those substantial reasons are the non-existence of the headquarters of the association or its founders are deprived from conducting their political rights and there are immoral judicial decisions issued against them or if the activities of the association include goals that incompatible with the constitution .As for the formal reasons , the administrative body may see that the headquarters is not suitable on the social or health level or there are another associations work in the same field with the same targets ,,, etc .
2 –The financing
Some associations depend on its own resources besides the periodical or exceptional subsidies or establishment subsidy obtained from the Ministry of Social Solidarity, so granting subsidies are considered a sword on some associations . On the other hand, it is necessary to say that the current system that applied in Egypt allows the ministry to give some social project to NGOs for management such as nurseries, women’s clubs and girls workshops ,,etc.
3 – Monitoring Associations
The relationship between the administrative bodies and associations includes the right of administrative bodies to monitor the associations especially the financial monitoring . Also the administrative bodies have the right to question associations and dissolve them.
4 – Delegating staff and experts to work in associations
The administrative bodies sometimes respond to the request of some associations to delegate additional experts or advisers staff to work in the associations whether a full-time or part-time period .This advantage helps some associations to decrease the burdens imposed on the budget as the administrative body provides bonuses and salaries for those extra delegated employees .
Among other challenges facing the association , participants pointed to the intervention of security bodies in the work of associations which are registered only after taking the approval from the security bodies besides, the founders must have a good reputation and have not been accused in any honorable case .
At the end of the workshop, Mrs. Nashwa suggested to crystallize an ethical charter for practicing among civil society organizations , the charter will focus on the following :-
— The relationship between the civil sector and government sector.
— The relationship between the civil sector and international organizations.
— The relationship between the civil sector and local society.
— The relationship between the civil sector and itself.
Participants agreed on this idea, 29 Associations announced their agreement to join the alliance .
Participants recommend the following : –
1 – Releasing the freedom of associations through the removal of legal and administrative obstacles which face their work through issuing an alternative legislation replacing Law No.84 /2002 which hinders the development of civil society.
2 – Legislator has to take into account what the international covenants and Egyptian Constitution set for guaranteeing the right to organize and the freedom of establishing associations
These basic guarantees are as follows :
• Every normal person or legal person has the right to participate in the establishment of associations and management and the withdraw from it freely.
• Such restrictions shouldn’t be imposed on the exercise of this right other than those prescribed by law.
• Establishing civil associations through notification rather than licensing system.
• Allowing the NGOs to receive donations through notification rather than a system of prior permission under the monitoring of Ministry of social solidarity .
3 – Opening a national dialogue on the new draft law . This dialogue includes a group of government representatives as well as civil society organizations and members of People’s Assembly and Shura Council .
4 – Financing NGOs through the private sector and the contributions of businessmen, on the condition of the following :
first : Keeping the principle of transparency, accountability and the need to notify the administrative and social affairs .
second: The announcement of the annual budget.
5 – Increasing the role of civil society Organizations in decision-making process and establishing a partnership relationship between them and the State . This partnership should start from the role of NGOs in drafting such laws that governing its movement and wind up with their participation in decision-making.
6 – Amending the environment surrounding the work of NGOs, in particular, as this environment is considered a violation for human rights and democracy due to the imposition of the state of emergency and the prevalence of torture and the existence of Supreme State Security Courts and military trials … etc.
New members of the Egyptian alliance :
1. AL IMAN CHARITABLE ASSOCIATION – DAMIETTA
2. SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION –AL KHAIATA – DAMIETTA
3. SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION –AL MANZALA – DAMIETTA
4. INTEGRATED SERVICES ASSOCIATION DAMIETTA
5. INFIRMARY CARE ASSOCIATION – DAMIETTA
6. SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION –AL BATARTAH – DAMIETTA
7. STUDENTS CARE ASSOCIATION – DAMIETTA
8. WOMEN AND DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION – DAMIETTA
9. DAMIETTA ASSOCIATION FOR DEVELOPMENT AND CIVILIZED COORDINATION – DAMIETTA
10. SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION –AL SAIALA – DAMIETTA
11. SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION –BORG AL ARAB – DAMIETTA
12. NEW GRADUATES – DAMIETTA
13. BADR CHARITABLE ASSOCIATION – KAFR BATIKH – DAMIETTA
14. K ARIAT AL BORG SOCIAL ASSOCIATION – DAMIETTA
15. GROWING UP BOYS ASSOCIATION – DAMIETTA
16. CIVIL OBSERVATORY ASSOCIATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS – GIZA
17. INDUSTRIES DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION – PORT SAID
18. AL MAHABA ASSOCIATION FOR HUMAN SERVICES FOR COPTIC EVANGELICALS -PORT SAID
19. THE ASSOCIATION OF ORTHODOX COPTIC CHARITABLE LADIES PORT SAID
20. AL HIJAZ ASSOCIATION – ISMAILIA
21. AL FIRDAN ASSOCIATION FOR DEVELOPMENT – ISMAILIA
22. ABU RAGEH ASSOCIATION FOR DEVELOPMENT- ISMAILIA
23. SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION –AL AHRAR VILLAGE – ISMAILIA
24. THE EGYPTIAN ASSOCIATION FOR MERGING THE MODERN MEDICINE AND INTEGRATED MEDICINE – ISMAILIA
25. ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ASSOCIATION AND COMBATING SMOKING AND TUBERCULOSIS – SUEZ
26. THE ASSOCIATION OF ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY PROTECTION – SUEZ
27. AL WADI AL GEDID SONS AND AL SUEZ LOVERS ASSOCIATION
28. AL LOAA ASSOCIATION
29. ENVIRONMENT AND TUBERCULOSIS PROTECTION ASSOCIATION
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