Egypt Independent

NGO draft law to be ready in a month, govt adviser says

The government will finish writing a new draft law governing NGOs in a month, according to a legal adviser to the Insurance and Social Affairs Ministry.

The ministry is discussing the legislation's terms with all civil society organizations, before submitting a bill to the cabinet and then Parliament, adviser Mohamed al-Demerdash told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Parliament will resolve potential conflicts between the ministry and NGOs when it comes to oversight, funding, licensing and other issues.

The ministry is also considering several NGO requests for government approval to receive foreign funding to implement projects in Egypt, Demerdash added. He said the amount of funding is also being considered.

Demerdash said most funding NGOs request approval for comes from Europe. A limited number of NGOs request authorization for funding from Arab countries.

The Ansar al-Sunnah group — not to be confused with an Iraqi terrorist organization of the same name — recently requested approval for funding from Qatar that would go toward charitable works and building mosques and hospitals.

Informed government sources said the Foreign, International Cooperation and Social Affairs ministries are looking at ways to regulate the work of some NGOs, including those involved in an ongoing foreign funding case.

Egyptian authorities had referred 43 NGO workers to criminal court on charges of illegal funding and intent to intervene in the country’s affairs. Last week, Egypt lifted a travel ban on the foreign suspects in the case.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm