Yesterday, January 25, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies hosted a meeting at which several Egyptian human rights groups met with 25 representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations working in Egypt to discuss the latest developments on the two versions of the proposed NGO law. The two draft laws, one submitted by the government of President Mohamed Morsi and the other submitted by the president’s party, the Freedom and Justice Party, are not consistent with international standards on the right to association. Both draft laws seek to nationalize civil society, particularly human rights groups, and to bring it under the control of the government and security apparatus, as part of a broader assault on citizens’ basic liberties, including through constitutional and legislative violations to basic rights as well as continued abuse by the security establishment.
Participants in the meeting included 25 diplomats and representatives from 15 different diplomatic missions, among them the ambassadors of Poland and Slovenia as well as representatives from the European Union, the United States, England, Australia, Spain, Finland, Denmark, Norway, France, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Sweden, as well as 8 regional and international organizations, including the UNDP, the Ford Foundation, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, Oxfam, the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Support of Human Rights Defenders, the Norwegian People’s Aid, and the Fund for Global Human Rights.
Several Egyptian advocacy organizations also attended the meeting, including the CIHRS, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, the New Woman Foundation, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Nazra for Feminist Studies, and the Andalus Center for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies.
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