NGO Law: El Sisi Orders a Review

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has ordered a review of a controversial law restricting the work of non-governmental organisations.

The 2017 law regulates how charities in Egypt can operate, but critics and human rights activists said the bill effectively bans many NGOs from operating. At the time it was passed by parliament in November 2016, some members of the cabinet objected to the proposal saying it was too restrictive.

Mr El Sisi told a youth forum in the Red Sea resort of Sharm Al Sheikh that a new committee would “draft a comprehensive vision for amending the law regulating NGOs and civil society in Egypt”.

On Monday, Mr El Sisi said he believed in the work of NGOs and said he wanted the law governing their work to be “balanced”

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While critics have said that the law mainly targets rights groups, even apolitical charities have complained it restricts them at a time when subsidy cuts and tax increases have made it harder for Egyptians to make ends meet.

Charities have long played an important role in feeding, clothing and providing health care and education in a country where millions live on less than $2 (Dh7) a day.

However, lawmakers had been working for years on a bill to regulate how NGOs operate saying it was necessary to protect national security. Mr El Sisi’s government has often said that human rights groups took foreign funds to sow discord in Egypt in the wake of uprisings against the rule of long-term leader Hosni Mubarak. The National


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