So what’s new?

Published on Al-Ahram no. 1072, by Mohamed Abdel-Baky, 17 – 23 November 2011.

Last week Fayza Abul-Naga, currently minister of planning and international cooperation, one of only a handful of pre-revolutionary cabinet members to remain in government, announced that politically motivated foreign funding of parties and non-registered NGOs was unacceptable. “Egypt does not oppose foreign funding of NGOs as long as it complies with Egyptian and international laws. However, the funding must be for development, not political purposes,” said Abul-Naga.   

She added that Egypt has officially informed the United States it will no longer accept the funding of unregistered NGOs. “We informed the US that we will not allow unregistered NGOs to receive overseas funding, or any NGO to receive funds from American NGOs that have not obtained registration from the Egyptian government to operate in Egypt.”

“Fourteen American and 12 unlicensed Egyptian NGOs received $47.8 million and $5.8 million respectively from the US government since the revolution.”

In June Anne Patterson, the US ambassador to Cairo, told Congress that $40 million had been spent in Egypt to “promote democracy” since the revolution. She said 600 Egyptian NGOs had applied for funding for projects such as election monitoring the raising public awareness about political participation … //

… “The Egyptian government and the ruling military council are desperate to weaken civil society. They are adopting exactly the same tactics as the Mubarak regime employed. Nothing has changed,” says political and human rights activist Bahieddin Hassan.

Revealing the details of bank accounts violates the Central Bank Law, says Negad El-Borai, director of the United Group law firm, and banks that cooperate in the violation — he named HSBC — will find themselves subject to legal action from any customers affected. (full text).

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