CAIRO: The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) announced Tuesday it would move its activities outside Egypt to Tunisia due to the new “draconian associations law” passed by the government this year.
“This move comes after the expiration of the deadline set by the Ministry of Social Solidarity for ‘unregistered entities’ to register under a draconian associations law and the mounting security pressure aimed at shutting out every independent, critical voice from the public sphere, individuals and institutions, Islamist or secular, as well as the erosion of the pillars of the rule of law and the constitution and the deterioration of human rights in the country to a level unprecedented in Egypt’s modern history,” the institution stated.
Nov. 10 was the deadline was set by the ministry to unregistered domestic organizations in accordance with the law, under which all NGOs must register or risk being dissolved.
CIHR’s Egypt Program Manager Mohamed Zaree told The Cairo Post in August that even after registration, an NGO could face problems from the ministry, as the government could object to the organization’s structure and cancel its administrative decisions. He added that the article 17 of Law 84 stipulates that NGOs must have approval for raising funds, and because of this, the ministry could delay financing for groups for months.
“Of all the Arab and non-Arab countries where the CIHRS is registered, Egypt is the only one where human rights organizations face such pressures and threats,” the institute said.
The program activities will move to Tunisia where it was registered few weeks after the Tunisian Revolution.
The Deputy Minister Kamal al-Sherif told The Cairo Post Tuesday “we did not enforce any one to register. This matter is up to the institution’s officials.”
Transparency International called on Nov. 10 the Egyptian authorities to cancel the deadline. The law was criticized by the UPR earlier in November.
On July 18, the Ministry Ghada Wali warned that the ministry would cancel the activities of bodies working in civil work within 45 days; but on Aug. 31 the deadline was extended for another 45 days.