Egypt’s new NGO law ‘militarizes’ civil society


Egypt’s new NGO law has militarized civil society and demonstrates how security leaders have exploited the need to counter a genuine terrorist threat as a justification to suppress political parties, civil society, independent media, and youth initiatives, a recent STRATFOR analysis notes:

Egypt’s current parliament has played a central role in these efforts, and the regime therefore may consider its performance a great success. But a legislature that excludes all opposition voices, that rubber stamps most authoritarian directives from the president, and that stifles debate over important issues may pose risks. As Egypt faces a constellation of dangerous security, economic, and social crises, it desperately needs a venue to discuss policies to confront these crises, and a forum in which citizen demands can be raised by fairly elected representatives of the people.

That is to say, Egypt desperately needs mediating institutions between citizens and the state, STRATFOR concludes.

Civil society actors should adapt means of pressure, create cooperatives to improve development impacts, and build and consolidate networks and consensus to act as a unified force capable of influencing government and weathering repression, says a new report from the Arab Reform Initiative.

The report, titled Civil Society and Public Policy Formation: Strategies from Morocco and Egypt (right), concludes a year of research carried out by the Arab Reform Initiative and its associated researchers and partners as part of it project on Economic and Social Policy Formation. Funded by the International Development Research Centre, the project seeks to empower advocacy groups and civil society actors in Egypt by drawing lessons from the Moroccan experience of national and parallel civil society dialogues in the formation of public policies and legislation.

A recent video from the Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies featured a number of Egyptian MPs stating their objection to the new NGO law (below). The center’s latest video (above) features a number of prominent human rights leaders, as well as the former Minister of Social Affairs, discussing the likely implications of this law now that it has been passed.

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