In its latest crackdown against non-governmental organizations, the Ministry of Social Solidarity moved to shut down at least 39 additional NGOs on Tuesday – bringing the total number of such closures this year to over 400.
While the Ministry of Social Solidarity did not publish any details of this latest closures on its official website or Facebook page, the state-owned Al-Ahram news portal reported that 39 NGOs affiliated to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood were shut down.
According to Al-Ahram, these latest closures are pursuant to judicial rulings, as the NGOs in question had not held their general assembly meetings in over two years.
Quoting the ministry’s deputy, Farag Ibrahim, Al-Ahram reported that these 39 NGOs are “merely ink on paper,” as they no longer serve the functions for which they were established.
According to Ibrahim, a total of 58 NGOs have been shut down this year in the Nile Delta governorate of Monufiya alone.
Meanwhile, Reuters affiliate Aswat Masriya reported on Tuesday that the Ministry of Social Solidarity dissolved another 14 NGOs, 10 of which are located in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Minya.
Aswat Masriya reported that Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly shut down these 14 NGOs in keeping with judicial rulings. The ministry claims these 14 NGOs were funded by the Muslim Brotherhood, which the state officially classified a terrorist organization in December 2013.
According to Aswat Masriya, these latest closures raise the total number of NGOs shuttered this year to 444.
While there are conflicting figures regarding the exact number of closures nationwide, official sources indicate that pursuant to judicial rulings, the Ministry of Social Solidarity has shut down at least 400 NGOs this year, with at least 380 NGOs liquidated within the two months of February and March alone.
Beyond the Muslim Brotherhood’s associations, since late last year the Ministry of Social Solidarity has moved to impose stringent new regulations on all NGOs that receive foreign funding.
Several officials from this ministry have claimed that they are not cracking down on Egyptian NGOs or civil society, but rather attempting to end the ambiguous legal status of certain organizations and halt financial violations of the law.
Nevertheless, as a result of these new restrictions on NGO funding, several independent human rights organizations have had to relocate their offices outside Egypt, downsize their staff, and/or work with significantly diminished budgets.