In a worsening trend in the Middle East, Egyptian Insurance and Social Affairs ministry has rejected the registration applications of 8 American non-profit groups that operate in the country. Egypt has claimed their activities violate its sovereignty. The groups that have been denied include Cater Center and Seeds of Peace.
Recently, Egypt had put 43 people on trial over the funding of non-governmental organizations. It was alleged that support from these groups might have assisted in triggering protests against the Egyptian military.
At the time, Washington had warned that it would review aid to Egypt if it did not respect rights of NGOs. The U.S. government ultimately paid $5 million in bail to secure the March 1 release of American NGO workers trapped in Egypt. These included Sam LaHood, the Cairo director of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
In case of UAE, the country shut down the regional office of National Democratic Institute (NDI) just days before Clinton visited the region. UAE alleges that NDI had been operating without a license and had no legal right to operate in UAE. Moreover, NDI was writing things that were not true. On the other hand, some US officials have contended that UAE is acting on the behest of Saudi Arabia, which has objections on NDI’s program for women.
Following the UAE crackdown, a US State Department official stated to the Foreign Policy magazine:
“As the Secretary has said many times, we believe NGOs play a valuable and legitimate role in a country’s political and economic development. They should be able to operate consistent with regulations and standards and without constraints.”