Egyptian parliament to amend controversial civil labor law News -

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The Egyptian parliament announced on its website the adoption of a number of draft laws "including the draft law governing the exercise of civil work." The amendments to the Act retained a provision prohibiting foreign organizations from using their headquarters in "unauthorized activities", without specifying them, as reported in local media. Non-governmental organizations are prohibited from transferring or receiving funds from persons or entities, except for sources already identified and with formal consent.

The amendments were limited to the abolition of the prison sentence, but stipulated fines of up to one million Egyptian pounds (about $ 55,000), according to the media.

Ten Egyptian human rights groups, including the Cairo Center for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), rejected the amendments before declaring them "very restrictive". The organizations also expressed their complete rejection of the draft civil labor law, demanding that "all parties, including the international community, not welcome the new draft law and press for further reforms."

"The law satisfies all previous concerns raised by local and foreign civil society groups," MP Mohamed Abu Hamed was quoted as saying. He stressed that the amendments "remove all restrictions on freedoms," in reference to the exclusion of imprisonment. He also pointed out that local NGOs could receive foreign funding provided that the authorities were notified and that no laws were violated by the organization.

Local media said more than two-thirds of the 596-member parliament approved the bill and only six deputies opposed it. "The bill will be sent to the presidency for ratification," Abu Hamed said. Foreign funding has been a controversial political issue since the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Last December, a court acquitted 43 non-governmental organization employees, including Americans and Europeans, accused of receiving illegal foreign funding other than to provoke unrest during the January 25 revolution.

President Sissi has been under international criticism for campaigning for civil society since he took office in 2014, a year after the army overthrew President Mohamed Morsi.

WB / HZ (AFP, Reuters)

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