A move by Egyptian authorities to prohibit national NGOs’ contact with foreign organizations without prior permission from security bodies represents a new low for freedom of association, said Amnesty International.
In a letter to the NGO the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Egypt’s Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs stated that no “local entity” is permitted to engage with “international entities” in any way without the permission of the “security bodies”, referring to instructions issued by the Prime Minister.
Amnesty International has obtained a copy of the letter. The vague language on “international entities” is likely to include both international human rights organizations and UN bodies.
“NGOs in Egypt already face staggering restrictions, but this instruction is a new low,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “It is a disturbing indicator of what may lie ahead for human rights groups in the government’s new law.”