EOHR calls upon the government to prorogate the deadline for the regularization of the unregistered organizations until the enactment of a new NGOs law

November 10th, 2014 by Editor

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expresses its deep concern for the deadline set by the Ministry of Solidarity for the regularization of unregistered CSOs in accordance with NGOs Law number 84 of the year 2002, especially because there are sustained rights calls to amend the law in the provisions that restrict and obstacle the civil work in the field of sustainable development and in their support to human rights and the rule of law.

The Ministry of Social Solidarity had already announced a deadline of 45 days for civil organizations to regularize their status in accordance with article 4 of Law number 84 of the year 2002 and the National Council for Human Rights had already intervened, calling for the prorogation of the deadline. The Ministry answered with a new extension of the prorogation till today, so the deadline has passed, paving the way for the dissolution of many civil entities working in the field of human rights. This represents a violation of the right to assembly and association, ensured by the international charters and conventions relevant to human rights, as well as by the Egyptian Constitution, which states in Article 75 that “All citizens shall have the right to form non-governmental associations and foundations on democratic basis, which shall acquire legal personality upon notification. Such associations and foundations shall have the right to practice their activities freely, and administrative agencies may not interfere in their affairs or dissolve them, or dissolve their boards of directors or boards of trustees save by a court judgment. The establishment or continuation of non-governmental associations and foundations, whose statutes or activities are secretive or conducted in secret or which are of military or quasi-military nature is prohibited as regulated by Law”.

Therefore EOHR considers that implementing the decision of the Ministry of Social Solidarity at the moment would result in a deep violation of the right to assembly and association and is inconsistent with the international charters and the Egyptian Constitution that acknowledged this right. Thus it would have been more useful to wait till the completion of the new NGOs Law draft, since there is a law prepared by the Commission for Civil Work, established in pursuance of the decision of Dr Ahmed ElBaraai, ex Minister of Social Solidarity, number 164 of the year 2013 on 30/7/2013, with Mr Hafez Abo Seada, EOHR president, as secretary. The Commission drafted a new Law on NGOs, consistent with the international charters and conventions relevant to human rights. The Drafting Commission, established by the Minister of Solidarity, completed the new draft law to submit it to the Council of Ministers and put it up for social dialogue, among organizations and parties.

On his part, Hafez Abo Seada, president of EOHR, asserted that issuing a decision in this way means violating the right to peaceful assembly, thus it is necessary to wait till the enactment of the new NGOs law, which will substitute Law number 84. This because a Commission for Civil Work has been established by the ex Minister of Solidarity, which submitted a new draft law to social dialogue, involving associations and CSOs, who at first where astonished by the enactment of this law. Then, it followed the regularization of associations and organizations working in the field of human rights, as per the new law that gave them a new deadline for regularizing their status.

Abo Seada stressed that we are in a difficult stage of development of the Egyptian state, and therefore it is necessary that all the laws shall be consistent with the  the legislations of the democratic state and with the international norms and  conventions relevant to human rights. It is also important to avoid that a decision violates one of the political and civil rights, acknowledged by international charters.

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