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International NGOs denied licences

(EOHR/IFEX) - 23 April 2012 - The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) denounces the decision of the Egyptian Ministry of Social Insurance to ban many international civil society organizations from observing the Egyptian presidential elections. The decision, issued on April 23, 2012, mentioned that the activities of these organizations violated "the state's sovereignty on its lands." The banned organizations include the Carter Center, Rights and Freedoms International and Seeds of Peace.

EOHR calls on the Egyptian government to reconsider this decision, and to allow the international observation missions to carry out their work. These organizations aim to provide Egyptian society with international experience, something that is much needed during the democratic transition. For many years, international organizations have applied to the Egyptian authorities to legalize their status in Egypt with little success. This decision coincidences with the ministry's draft law on NGOs that restricts most NGO activity in Egypt, both local and international.

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, the head of EOHR, stated that the decision is not logical. All countries in the world support the role played by civil society organizations, while the Egyptian Ministry of Social Insurance hinders the work of NGOs during the democratic transition. The
international standards should be taken as references for all forthcoming governmental decisions and legislation.
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