The United States is concerned by the civil society draft law submitted by the Egyptian Presidency to the Shura Council. After holding consultations with local stakeholders and international experts, the government requested and received constructive recommendations for revisions to the bill, and we note that some improvements were made from earlier drafts. However, the draft law still imposes significant government controls and restrictions on the activities and funding of civic groups, which appear contrary to the right of freedom of association enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a party. The United States believes the proposed law is likely to impede Egyptians’ ability to form civic groups that are critical to advancing freedoms, supporting democracy, and acting as appropriate checks on the government. As the Shura Council reviews the draft legislation, we urge further consultations with civil society and revisions to ensure the law respects universal human rights, empowers civil society to play its legitimate role, and responds to the Egyptian people’s aspirations for democracy as guaranteed specifically in Egypt’s new constitution.
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