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Egypt's Supreme Court Bans Social Solidarity Minister from Dissolving NGOs

Big win for NGOs in Egypt.

Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court has officially banned Social Solidarity Minister from dissolving NGOs, according to Egypt Independent. Based on Article 42 of the Law on Associations and NGOs, the Minister of Social Solidarity supposedly has the authority to do so – but a court verdict declared this unconstitutional.

This ruling overturns the authority of the Minister to dissolve NGOs, stating that it is not possible to grant him the power to remove the boards of directors of these associations without judicial verdict. The SCC stated that article 75 of the constitution "guarantees freedom of citizens to form civil associations and institutions on a democratic basis." On the other hand, the constitution also prohibits "associations or institutions whose activity is secret, and of a military or paramilitary nature."

In January of last year, the Egyptian government cracked down hard on NGOs, freezing the assets of Nazra for Feminist Studies, amongst many others, creating a worldwide scandal. The European Union said this decision "continues a worrying trend of restricting space for civil society to operate in Egypt." Thankfully, this should no longer be the case.

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