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Egypt refuses to give licenses to eight US-based civil society groups

Cairo , Tue, 24 Apr 2012 ANI

Cairo, Apr 24 (ANI): Egypt has reportedly rejected a request from eight US-based civil society groups for licenses to operate in the country amid a crackdown on foreign NGOs a month before the presidential polls.

According to state run media, the organistions that were denied licenses include the Carter Centre, which observed Egypt's parliamentary elections that were held between November and January.

The report said the Insurance and Social Affairs Ministry rejected the applications because their activities violated 'the state's sovereignty on its lands'.

According to the BBC, the eight NGOs also include Seeds of Peace, Coptic Orphans, the Latter-day Saints Association and others.

"I do not understand how a charity group like the Coptic Orphans, which works with over 35 churches in Egypt to provide medical and social aid, was rejected," the report quoted Coptic Orphans' lawyer Negad al-Borai, as saying.

Egyptian authorities, in February 2012, charged 43 individuals from five foreign NGOs with obtaining international funds illegally and failing to register their organisations with the government.

The move sparked off a crisis in relations with the US with threats that annual American aid worth 1.3 billion dollars could be affected.

The crisis resolved after an Egyptian judge allowed American defendants, and those with other foreign nationalities, to leave the country in March after posting bail. (ANI)

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