Rights group calls Egypt draft NGO law restrictive

CAIRO (AP) — Human Rights Watch says Egypt’s draft law regulating non-governmental organizations would allow the government and its security agencies to restrict the funding and operation of independent groups.

The statement released Thursday says the bill, currently under debate by the country’s interim legislature, would allow the state to control NGOs’ activity as well as their domestic and international funding.

“This draft law dashes all hopes that independent groups could operate freely and independently after the revolution,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

In 2011, the Egyptian government shut down several U.S.-funded NGOs and charged a number of their staff, including 16 Americans, with criminal offenses. The Americans left the country and were later tried in absentia. HRW says two international workers are still on trial.

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