October 5th, 2009 by Editor
At the end of a seminar entitled ” Mechanisms of democratic exercise for NGOs in Egypt” which was held by “EOHR” in cooperation with “Friedrich Naumann Foundation” on Sunday, 4/10/2009, representatives of 30 NGOs discussed the Code of Conduct on the mechanisms of democratic exercise for NGOs in Egypt. Participants confirmed that this code contains a set of standards that controlling the conduct of NGOs. They called for abolishing Law No. 84 /2002 and enacting a new law that guarantees the establishment of NGOs through just notification.
Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, Secretary-General of EOHR clarified that this code is a result of long discussions adopted by activists from Egypt with their counterparts from four other Arab countries, namely, (Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria), in a wide meeting in Lebanon held in June 2008, the document of this code was stated at a regional conference held at the headquarters of the League of Arab States in the frame of Arab European program adopted by Friedrich Naumann Foundation supported by the European Union, and in collaboration with a number of Arab partners, including EOHR.
Abu Seada described the Code as a “moral charter” for NGOs that determines for their board of trustees and employees a set of values and behaviors which should be taken into account during performing their duties and activities. This code aims primarily at promoting and developing the relationship between NGOs and state institutions and also enhancing the credibility of organizations for public opinion and targeted mass with their activities.
Abu Seada confirmed that NGOs in Egypt face different challenges, whether legal or administrative or financial. During the past 3 years the curve of these challenges went up in different governorates as NGOs still work under law No. 84-2002 the matter which has a bad effect on these NGOs and adversely affect their role in promoting democratic change in the society. This law imposes such restrictions on the freedom of NGOs as it violates article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states “Everyone has the right to participate in meetings and peaceful associations “, also it violates article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which granted citizens the right to form associations, besides the continued problem of funding which affects negatively the civil work.
Participants welcomed the code of conduct confirming the necessary to promote the civil work in Egypt, and assuring the independency of NGOs through adopting a liberal philosophy for activity , publicity and management, and the necessary of making the best use of resources and achieving the principles of transparency and accountability inside NGOs.
At the end of the seminar , participants agreed on a set of recommendations as follows:
– Releasing the freedom of NGOs by removing legal and administrative obstacles and financial difficulties which impede their work, through the issuance of alternative legislation replacing law No. 84 of 2002 for being an obstacle to the work of NGOs and hinders the development of civil society development .
– Helping NGOs to receive funds through the private sector and the contributions of businessmen. funding should depend on two conditions:
I- Transparency and the need for accountability
II: Notifying the administrative body.
– Increasing the role of civil society in decision-making, and the establishment of a partnership between them and the state, not a relationship of subordination, this partnership should begin with the role of NGOs in the formulation of laws governing NGOs’ movement and their participation in decision-making.
– Assuring on the culture of civil organizations, by supporting and consolidating a number of specific elements for this culture. Among these elements is to expand the tendency towards voluntary work, giving the effect to accountability rules and transparency values essential for democratic practice, giving more spaces for civil education through the mass media in order to promote the role of civil society and to uphold the values of dialogue, and guarantees of public freedom.
– Reforming the environment surrounding NGOs particularly that it is considered an impeded environment for human rights and democracy . This impeded environment is represented in the continued imposition of the state of emergency and the spread of torture inside prisons and the existence of military trials and state security courts…etc.
It is worth noting that the code of conduct is depending on basic principles as follows:
-The commitment to international laws and covenants.
-The promotion of good governance.
The promotion of good financial management. –
-To ensure equality and non-discrimination.
-The prevention of conflicts of interest.
-The principle of settling differences.
-Promote participation and coordination.
-Promote the right of access to information.
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