"Concerning" situation awaits unregistered NGOs – minister

Tuesday 11-11-2014 02:52 PM

CAIRO, Nov 11 (Aswat Masriya) – A day past the deadline given to non-governmental organisations working in Egypt to register under the concerned law, Egypt's minister of social solidarity warned that the situation of organisations not registered under the law is "concerning".

Minister Ghada Wali told state-run news agency MENA on Tuesday that the ministry will address NGOs to inquire about the nature of their activities, their funding and the mechanism of their work starting Wednesday.

The ministry of social solidarity urged on July 18 all domestic and international NGOs operating within Egypt to register under Law 84/2002, which governs the activities of NGOs, before September 2. The deadline was later extended, to become November 10.

The law has widely been condemned by civil society organisations for granting the government control over NGOs.

Some civil society organisations operating in Egypt are registered as law firms or nonprofit companies to escape registration under the law in question. They are now at risk of being shut down.

Wali reportedly said on Tuesday that the ministry will not legally pursue bodies which work under any Egyptian laws, be it Law 84/2002 or another law.

When the deadline arrived, some NGOs closed their offices and started working from home. Others, Reuters reported on Sunday, shredded their documents anticipating security raids.

International watchdog Human Rights Watch said last Tuesday a number of high-profile human rights defenders have fled the country in reaction to the government's keenness to pursue Law 84/2002. It added that some of the activists said they have been warned to register under the law, while others were "threatened with physical violence."

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