Qais Said said that he would ban civil society organizations from receiving any foreign funding, as part of his efforts to reshape the country’s political scene, which many considered a severe blow to political parties that were affected by suspicious financial supplies from abroad, including the Ennahda movement.
Said said in a meeting with members of the government, “NGOs must be prevented from external funds, and we will do so. They are apparently associations, but they are extensions of external forces. We will not allow funds to come from abroad to tamper with the country, and there is no room for anyone to interfere in our choices under any pressure or influence.” .
The new draft decree, which is expected to be published in the Official Gazette, stipulates that associations cannot receive aid, donations and gifts from foreign countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Tunisia. These associations are also invited to obtain a license from the Financial Analysis Committee before receiving any foreign funding.
The draft also provides for a new formula for dissolving associations, which is the automated solution, by a decision issued by the administration in charge of associations headed by the government, a formula that is added to the formula for issuing a court ruling to dissolve them.
The Tunisian president’s statements about the necessity of changing the laws of associations and NGOs came to confirm the suspicions that persecute a significant number of civil associations operating under the cover of politics, as official figures in Tunisia indicate that the association fabric has witnessed since the past 2011 a clear boom in the number of associations that exceeded during the year Currently, 24,000 associations are active in various sectors, including social, political, legal, cultural, health, religious, and others. Most of these structures are financed by a large part of their resources from foreign bodies.
Badra Qaaloul, head of the International Center for Security and Military Studies in Tunisia, said that the Tunisian president, speaking about the need to review the law on association financing, wanted to raise the file of some associations established by political parties in order to impose their religious and political orientations and for money laundering and polarization. Suspicious funding from abroad, specifically from the global organization of the Brotherhood, which pumps huge funds to associations to commit various crimes.
Qaaloul added in a statement to Sky News Arabia, “The Brotherhood’s Ennahda Movement was the party most involved in exploiting funds coming from abroad, which apparently go to associations and organizations, but in reality it is only a cover for concealing suspicions and multiple crimes in the field of money laundering, deportation of young people, or committing terrorist acts.” .”
She added that Qais Saeed’s project does not include all associations, but rather those that operate under political cover and with suspicious goals to serve foreign agendas.
Tunisian non-governmental associations and organizations played a pioneering role in launching the first spark of the revolution in 2011. Many consider it a gain in consolidating pluralism and democracy and an independent civil observatory to monitor the performance of parties and power at the same time, but most of them turned into a cover for financing political parties, led by the Ennahda Movement and its loyal parties. , which opened the door to the involvement of these associations in committing terrorist crimes and in cases of deportation of jihadists to other countries.
Earlier, many civil organizations and human rights bodies raised the issue of funding associations linked to extremist religious organizations, noting that there are associations that use charitable and religious campaigns as a cover to receive large sums of money from foreign parties.
Commenting on the new decree, Munir al-Sharafi, a member of the State Civilian Observatory, told Sky News Arabia that the revision of some chapters of Decree No. 88 of 2011 regulating the Associations Law, the main objective of which is to monitor suspicious foreign funds that finance associations associated with terrorism and religious extremism, but there is a lot behind that. There are concerns about the possible domination of the authorities over civil societies, especially since some paragraphs of the draft law include a reference to government hegemony over civil society in general.”
Al-Sharafi said, “There are many revisions included in the draft that contradict the spirit of the constitution, but the monitoring should be based on tracking suspicious funds only, not that the new law contributes to compromising democracy and constitutional rights.”
In turn, Fathi bin Muammar, head of the Alq Cultural Association, believes that “it is important to activate the control mechanisms before and after associations and organizations obtain foreign funds, i.e. the source of those funds and where they will be spent specifically so that associations that have lofty goals and are not suspicious and far from extremism are not harmed.” Serving foreign parties and agendas, or money laundering crimes.
Bin Muammar revealed to Sky News Arabia, saying: “If there are foreign parties or entities that hide behind associations, whether it is Al-Nahda or others, and investigations have proven their involvement in the deportation of young people or religious extremism, then the law becomes an inevitable matter to track their financing and put an end to their transgressions.
It is noteworthy that various reports have previously revealed that many associations in Tunisia have turned into foreign and hidden branches of political parties, as their activity increases during election campaigns. The Brotherhood’s Ennahda movement in Tunisia has been implicated in deportations and sending young men to hotbeds of tension in the world since 2011.