Ten Egyptian rights groups called for a transparent dialogue with the Ministry of Social Solidarity to discuss the development of civil society and the independence of civic associations, according to a Tuesday statement by Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS).
The groups further want to discuss issues related to the legal framework, administrative and security interference in NGO work as well as the fears and apprehensions that the government holds for these groups.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Arab Network for Human Rights Information and Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance are among the groups calling for the dialogue.
The initiative came following the end of the deadline period on 10 November set by the Ministry of Social Solidarity for tights groups to register under Law 84/2002 which provides the government the power to shut down, freeze assets, block funding, confiscate property, and reject the governing boards of any NGO.
However, rights groups don’t believe that registering under this law solves the crisis of freedom of association. “It only prolongs the crisis,” read the statement.
Rights groups have demonstrated willingness to discuss their situation with the government on different occasions, the latest of them was in a meeting with Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, where 23 groups submitted a memorandum demanding the government to reconsider its policy on NGOs.
CIHRS have appealed to President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi demanding the Ministry of Social Solidarity to abide by the constitution that allows NGOs to be considered legal once they announce their existence without recourse to a legal process of registration.