Friday, April 9, 2010
The Ministry of Social Solidarity has completed a draft for a new NGO law. According to the latest leaked copy, the bill is more restrictive and draconian than repressive law already in place. The new bill is expected to pass into law with the approval of the government parliamentary majority in the coming month. A press release by 41 NGOs published on the Euro-Med Human Rights Network website suggests that the haste to pass the bill is attributable to a desire to undermine civil society efforts to monitor the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections. Following the abolition of judicial supervision of elections in the last round of constitutional amendments and the government’s refusal to allow international monitors, this step will facilitate further dishonest elections conducted without any meaningful oversight. Some articles of the new bill aim to limit the activities of human rights organizations or shut them down completely by criminalizing all forms of unregistered civic organization. The bill promises to institute unprecedented control over civil society worse than the crackdown that followed the July 1952 revolution which nationalized political, partisan, syndicate and civic action. It is clear that goal of the bill is to tighten the stranglehold on NGOs and other civic organizations.