CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, through its Early Warning System, has noted continued repressive conditions for local civil society activists and organisations. In March 2010, a copy of a draft law to suppress independent civil society was leaked to the local press and immediately garnered widespread denunciation from local civil society, as well as international criticism from both human rights groups and governments.
Among the worst restrictions in the proposed law are provisions that would grant the Minister of Social Solidarity unchecked authority to deny registration or de-register and liquidate any civil society organisation. This Ministerial prerogative -- along with provisions that explicitly limit civil society activities to "social care, development, and community awareness-raising" and require Minister of Social Solidarity permission for all civil society partnerships with any international entity -- would effectively repress the little remaining space for any freedom of expression, association and assembly in Egypt.
"Without an open space for civil society there is no hope that the elections scheduled for the next two years will be fair and transparent," said Netsanet Belay, manager of CIVICUS' Civil Society Watch programme. "There is a critical need in Egypt for legislative amendments to enable truly democratic processes, including reform of election laws that grant the Interior Minister broad, practically unrestricted, powers to supervise voter registration, open the door for nominations and declare the election results."
CIVICUS and the Every Human Has Rights (EHHR) campaign call upon their members and supporters to apply sustained pressure on both the Egyptian government and key international actors by stating their unequivocal censure of the leaked draft Law on Associations and Foundations and their solidarity with Egyptian civil society in demanding open, transparent, and democratic multi-party elections. Visit www.everyhumanhasrights.org to find out how you can take action now.
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is a global movement of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. The Civil Society Watch (CSW) programme of CIVICUS tracks threats to civil society freedoms of expression, association and assembly across the world. CIVICUS is also taking the lead on the EHHR campaign.
For more information please contact CIVICUS:
Jessica Hume (jessica.hume at civicus dot org), Communications Officer or
Adam Nord (adam.nord at civicus dot org ), Civil Society Watch Programme Officer
Office Tel: +27 11 833 5959