NGOs protest bill turning civil society into ‘quasi-government’
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CAIRO: Egyptian human rights organizations called on the government to end the “ongoing deterioration” of the state of human rights in Egypt by retracting a bill drafted by the Ministry of Solidarity, which turns the civil society into a “quasi-government” sector, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) said in a Thursday statement.

Bahey Eddin Hassan, director of CIHRS, submitted a memo signed by 23 Egyptian human rights organizations to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab in a Thursday meeting requested by Hassan.

The statement indicated that the meeting was triggered by a “notice” from the Ministry of Solidarity published on state-funded Al-Ahram newspaper July 18, warning that civil society organizations would be “dissolved” in 45 days.

“Such a step could severely undermine the Egyptian legal framework and destroy any remaining confidence in the legal and judicial systems,” the NGOs said.

“Furthermore, it may very well lead to the closure of a large number of human rights organizations and the imprisonment of those who work in them.”

The signatory organizations emphasized that the government should request technical consultation from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights when drafting an associations law, citing that Egypt is part to the International Covenant n Civil and Political Rights.

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