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The Chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT) called on President Sisi to reconsider new restrictive law on NGOs.

Mr. Panzeri expressed his profound concern about new Egyptian rules which aim at further restricting independent NGO activities, including through the issuing of permits, and/or the refusal of approval of foreign funding, as well as harsh punitive measures of up to five years in prison applied to those violating this law.

He said: “I believe that NGO and civil society organisations’ activities covering a variety of issues are assets rather than a threat. Their participation in public affairs is an important pillar in the construction of a democratic and tolerant society, and it is unfortunate that President Sisi has approved this restrictive law which undermines respect for freedom of speech and association as enshrined in the UN Declaration on Human Rights.

Furthermore, the EU Associated Agreement Partnership with Egypt is based on respect for human rights, and any attempt to restrict NGO activities would not be in line with Egypt’s commitment to promoting and respecting human rights as guaranteed under the Egyptian Constitution or with international human rights standards.

I call on President Sisi to reconsider this restrictive law on NGOs, which as it stands amounts to a ban on NGOs carrying out their work. “