Egypt’s Al-Sisi Again Takes Aim at Civil Society
Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh Al-Sisi appears to be in a contest with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to see who can dismantle his country’s civil society first. While Erdogan has arrested tens of thousands of critics and crippled free press in Turkey through the arrest of journalists and the closing of news organizations, Al-Sisi has enacted a new law that will have a chilling effect on foreign non-governmental organizations and human rights activists. The new bill demands foreign NGOs pay staggering (US$16,500 annually) to work in Egypt, and even if an organization can afford the fees, they are not permitted to publish any form of study or survey without permission from Sisi’s government. The army and intelligence agencies will be part of the group that makes decisions about foreign funded NGOs. Criticism has been fast and furious from international rights organizations.