New Law To Regulate NGOs In UAE

In April, the UAE announced that its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with other authorities, is drafting a federal bill to regulate activities of both regional and international non-government organisations (NGOs).

The announcement was made at the Federal National Council by Dr Anwar Bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Minister of Federal National Council Affairs. Gargash said the new legislation was expected to be ready by 2015.

He confirmed that the proposed legislation will take into consideration aspects of sovereignty of the state, will regulate activities of NGOs founded outside the State, and will make the most of their experience and expertise in serving the work environment.

The drafting of the bill comes after a number of international NGOs operating in the UAE were closed in 2012 because of license violations. Among them were the US-funded pro-democracy group National Democratic Institute, German foundation Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the Abu-Dhabi branch of research company Gallup. There was also a clampdown on several domestic organisations and professional organisations.

Answering questions regarding the government’s endeavours to regulate the work of regional and international NGOs, Gargash said regulation was very important and again emphasised the need for a legal framework which takes into consideration aspects of sovereignty of the state. Currently, operating practices and legislations are mostly governing work of organisations and societies which were founded inside the UAE. The new law will make sure NGOs established outside the state are properly regulated too.