EOHR submits a new bill for NGOs to the President and People’s Assembly

March 9th, 2010 by Editor

EOHR submitted a new bill for NGOs on Tuesday  9/3/2010 instead of Law No. 84 of 2002 to the President of the republic and People’s Assembly,  in accordance with the international covenants concerned with human rights  especially with regard to the right to association.

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, chairman  of EOHR clarified  that the Egyptian society has  recently witnessed a debate among NGOs on   law No. 84 of 2002, some persons saw the need to add amendments to the law, while others saw the need to provide a new approach to the law. These views coincide with the ministry of social solidarity’s attempt to amend the same law without paying attention to the amendments presented by NGOs. The ministry has recently completed the final draft for the proposed amendments.  

Abu Seada described the governmental amendments as a restriction for civil work in Egypt. It is said that the proposed law will determine the activities fields of NGOs including no more than 3 fields for the new NGOs which will be registered for the first time and to keep the power of the ministry to dissolve NGOs, also the amendments didn’t deal with articles (6, 7, 11, 16, 17 and 42).

Abu Seada added that the proposed law which was prepared  by EOHR is based on international standards on human rights, in particular on the right to establishment of NGOs and civil society organizations which are based on releasing the freedom of NGOs by removing legal and administrative obstacles and financial difficulties faced by their work,  also this law contributes to facilitate the procedures of establishment just only through notification without the need to obtain prior authorization, NGOs are established according to their founders’ will, also such  procedures of establishment may not constitute obstacles to establish NGOs. The law ensure the increasing role of NGOs in decision making and to establish a partnership relation with the state leading to a strong civil society able to  contribute to promote the values of democracy and human rights. 

Abu Seada called the government for taking  into account the bill prepared by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights and   Cairo Institute  for Human Rights Studies and a number of other organizations in November 2008 as an alternative to the current law No. 84 of 2002, which is based on international standards on human rights, particularly with regard to the right to association.

Herein below  a set of general principles to amend the law of NGOs No. 84 of 2002:

  1. Establishment freedom and managing  work :
  • – Registering NGOs through notifying the administrative body without getting prior permission .
  • – Articles No.54-80 which were canceled from civil law on NGOs are the base which new law should depend on .
  • – Recognizing the freedom of establishment without restrictions or conditions as the right to establish NGOs was ensured by Articles 55-56 of the Egyptian Constitutions, also prohibiting to exclude some identical individuals to join NGOs as a pretext of depriving them to enjoy with civil and political rights.
  • – Releasing the freedom of NGOs and civil society organizations to work in all fields and economic, social, professional, cultural and political activities , the new law should include the explanation of political and union activity which is prohibited for NG0s instead of the executive regulation.
  • – Canceling the administrative power to monitor documents and breaking in NGOs” premises without notification.
  • – Promoting the general assembly and consider it the only power inside the NGOs besides ,determining its activities and systems levels and execute its decisions which shouldn’t be objected from the administrative side.
  1. Dissolving  NGOs and terminating the work:
  • – Dissolving NGOs or stopping their activities is prohibited except for the judiciary decisions after making every efforts to appeal .
  • – Taking the principle of proportionality between penalties and crimes , criminal punishments may not be applied on the civil work of NGOs or their members except for decisions taken by judiciary after ensuring the right to defend in a fair and open court.
  • – Reforming the dispute settlement committee and activating its mechanisms .

The financial freedom and developing the financial resources:

  • – The freedom of civil society organizations to receive the necessary fund for their activities under the condition of declaring the source of this fund and the expenditures aspects and guarantee the right to resort to judiciary if the governmental sides objected to the financing source , if the governmental side doesn’t respond positively on receiving fund during one month from notification date, the fund will be valid.
  • – The government should guarantee in its laws the exemptions from taxes and fees and to courage donors through making a discount of the value of their donations from their base of assessment with an acceptable rate, however these advantages and tax free doesn’t give the governmental side the right to interfere in NGOs’ affairs .
  • – NGOs have the right to develop their financial resources including fees and members’ donations and to accept aids and donations from any normal or legal personality and to perform activities to gain profits on the condition that these activities never be distributed to their members.

4-The right to meet  and expression:

  • – Recognizing the right of civil society organizations to hold meetings in their premises or at any other outside places without imposing restrictions .
  • – Recognizing the right of civil organizations in releasing periodical reports and magazines without taking a previous permission or without imposing any financial restrictions.

5-Joining international coalitions and  networks:

-Recognizing the right of civil society organizations to join international coalitions  and networks under the condition of informing the governmental side without taking a previous permission .

-Recognizing civil society organizations’ right in the membership of general  federation for NGOs.

6-The general  federation of NGOs:

  • – The board of trustees are being formed via direct election from its general assembly which being formed by NGOs.

7- Foundation :

-A clear financial and administrative  structure.

-The devolution of  interior power for two periods.

-A clear mechanisms for the interior conflict (executive declaration included).

It is worth noting that EOHR in the cooperation with the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation supported by the European Union released its campaign to amend  the law of NGOs  under the title of ” the Egyptian coalition for the freedom of NGOs”. The coalition  came to a new bill for NGOs replacing Law No. 84. The bill was adopted by 15 NGOs distributed on 18 governorates including (Cairo, Giza, Helwan, Alexandria, Al Gharbia , Beni Suef, Assuit, Minya, Suez, Damietta, Port Said, Al Behira , Ismailia, Port Said, North of Sinai.

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