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Transparency International calls for greater protection of civil society in Egypt

Transparency International calls for greater protection of civil society in Egypt and for the government to engage with civil society to ensure that a new law regulating civil society upholds the principles of human rights and freedom of association.

The draft civil society organisations (CSO) law put forward by the Ministry of Social Solidarity in June this year regulating nongovernmental organisations restricts the space for civil society and interferes with its independence.

The draft law effectively bars groups from conducting activities without the explicit scrutiny of government and security agencies.

‘Egypt must live up to its international commitments in protecting and promoting civil society or risk recreating the climate of intimidation and impunity that marked thirty years of autocratic rule under Mubarak,’ said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International.

Transparency International calls on the current government to comply with the principles for transparency and integrity in the issuance of such laws and to ensure that any CSO law under discussion is aligned with Egypt’s commitments in the International Human Rights Conventions as well as the UNCAC.

The Egyptian government’s recent action against Human Rights Watch, denying entry to two of its directors into the country exemplifies how the space for civil society is shrinking in Egypt.

Egypt ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2005. Article 13 obliges Egypt “to promote the active participation of … civil society … in the prevention of and the fight against corruption.”

Transparency International calls on Egypt to respect and fulfil its international obligations, and protect the crucial role civil society plays in keeping public officials accountable.

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