Freedom and Justice Party Supports Role of NGOs as Essential to Democratic Process
(20 February 2012- Cairo) The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) today re-iterated its support for the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in supporting the democratic process, especially in nascent democracies. Under the previous, autocratic, regime, Egypt suffered many violations of civic and democratic rights. NGOs played an important role during that time in exposing the many atrocities of the regime. The FJP affirms its commitment to a vision of Egypt where NGOs continue to play an important role in holding government accountable. "The FJP supports immediate lifting of restrictions on the establishment and registration of NGOs, so interested groups can work legally and transparently," FJP Chairman Dr. Mohamed Morsi told FJPonline.com. "Indeed, Egypt needs the support of NGOs especially in the areas of human development, education, technology transfer and public administration."
The FJP supports legislation to regulate NGOs that includes regulation of funding sources. NGOs are most credible when relying on domestic funding sources such as tax-exempt contributions, donations and grants. If foreign funding is needed, it must be regulated in a way that allows full and periodic disclosure of donors. Foreign funding should be allocated for specified projects and be free from interference from the donor government or agency. NGOs that receive public or foreign funding should be precluded from taking partisan positions or campaigning for specific political parties. "NGOs are regulated with respect to funding and scope by most democratic nations and we will look to best practices around the world in crafting Egypt’s approach," Dr. Morsi said.
The FJP fully rejects all forms of politically motivated crackdowns against NGOs, and demands that any investigations of alleged irregular or illegal practices must be done in accordance with the law and the due process. Government must ensure the safety of individuals working in these organizations, amidst heightened public anger driven by the media, and immediately release those who are proven to be innocent in court of law. Meanwhile, the Party equally rejects any attempts by foreign governments to undermine the ongoing investigations, or influence the legal process which must be allowed to take its full course so that the rule of law prevails, and the sovereignty of our country is preserved.
"The people of Egypt have made great sacrifices in order to afford future generations the opportunity of living with dignity in their own country. The FJP strives to bring this about through a free and democratic Egypt, based on a system of representative government that conforms with the principles of Islam. We strive to build a society rooted in the rule of law that serves all its citizens equally without regard to sex, color, or religion," Dr. Morsi added.