Members of the Egyptian parliament attend a session at Egyptâ€™s parliament in Cairo Feb. 26, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo
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Egypt's parliament overwhelmingly endorsed a law regulating non-governmental organizations Tuesday that human rights groups and activists say effectively bans their work and makes it harder for charities to operate.The government had been working for years on a new law regulating NGOs, which human rights groups feared would be more restrictive than Mubarak-era rules."Egypt's parliament is trying to dodge public scrutiny by rushing into force a law that would effectively ban what remains of the country's independent civil society groups," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said in a press release on Monday.NGOs say they have felt exposed since late 2011, when authorities raided 17 pro-democracy and rights groups, accusing them of joining a foreign conspiracy against Egypt.A case against dozens of Egyptian NGOs and lawyers was never closed but remained largely dormant until this September, when a court approved a freeze on the assets of five human rights activists and three NGOs accused of receiving foreign funds.
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