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(Beirut) – The Egyptian government announced on April 5, 2019 that it “will repeal” its draconian 2017 NGO law and that it will submit to parliament a new draft law on nongovernmental organizations. Egyptian newspapers reported that the new draft law eliminates the criminal penalties for non-compliance in the 2017 law, and limits oversight of these groups to a single government authority, also in contrast with the multi-authority review of the prior law.

The government has not made the new draft law public. The parliament will need to discuss and approve the draft and the president will need to sign it before it becomes a law.

The following quote can be attributed to Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“Repealing Egypt’s draconian 2017 NGO law, which could have ended any meaningful existence for nongovernmental groups in the country, and replacing it with a law that eliminates all prison penalties for nongovernmental groups and their staff would be a positive move. The government should quickly publicize this draft so that civil society, which will be most affected by the law, has an opportunity to review and comment on its contents.” 

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