Court Rules That Egyptian NGOs Can Now Receive Foreign Funding
This verdict could prove fundamental for several human rights NGOs that were recently prosecuted for receiving 'illegal' foreign funds.
An administrative court ruled on Tuesday that NGOs now have the right to receive foreign funding. According to Al Ahram, the verdict was passed after Amal Abdel-Hady, Chairwoman of the New Woman Foundation, filed a case against the Ministry of Solidarity for refusing her request to receiving funding from the Rockefeller Foundation.
The verdict is of paramount importance for non-governmental organisations, many of which have been prosecuted for receiving 'illegal' foreign funds. Last March, human rights organisation Amnesty International criticised Egyptian authorities after a judicial committee ordered the freezing of assets for four Egyptian human rights activists and their families, including Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)’s founder Hossam Bahgat, and Gamal Eid, founder of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). Nazra for Feminist Studies is also under investigations for foreign funding.
The new verdict stipulates that funding is allowed for NGOs, as long as the organisations don't represent a harm to “general peace and security" or "negatively affect public morality,” a judgement that will depend on the Ministry of Solidarity. Following the request of an NGO, the Ministry must respond “as soon as possible,” the court said, adding that the ministry's power over NGOs is not to control but to assess.