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The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs, in coordination with the competent authorities in the country, worked to study a new law for private associations and institutions, which would contribute to the implementation of social protection programs in national development strategies.

Decree-Law 21 of 2020 was issued regarding private associations and institutions, which includes amendments aimed at addressing the problems faced by associations, their boards of directors, and members of their general assemblies in implementing some of the articles of the law.

In a statement on this occasion, His Excellency Yusuf bin Muhammad Al-Othman Fakhro, Minister of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs, stressed the importance of partnership and cooperation between state institutions, associations and private institutions to implement national development plans, appreciating their role in providing many social, educational, scientific, cultural and professional services.

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His Excellency said that the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs is working continuously to activate this partnership and provide a helping hand and support to these national bodies, calling for more cooperation, coordination and true partnership for what is in the national interest.

The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs stated in a statement on the occasion of the issuance of the new Associations and Private Institutions Law that the amendments approved in the new law would contribute to achieving greater flexibility for registering private associations and institutions, and members of the General Assembly enjoying their full rights without the need for six months to pass since their joining. For the association as it was previously.

According to the ministry’s statement, the new amendments regulate the mechanism for conducting general assembly elections to the board of directors, in a way that contributes to equal opportunities among all members of the association, and allows them to view the records of members who have the right to run and be elected, as the board of directors is obligated to publish a list of the names of the members of the general assembly who have fulfilled their obligations Towards the association, at its headquarters or its website, or both, at least sixty days before the date of the general assembly meetings.

The amendments also allow more formal methods of communication between the association and its members in all forms or means available electronically, while in the past it was limited to registered mail only, in order to enhance communication between members and the association, and equal opportunities among members to attend General Assembly meetings and participate in elections.
The amendments provide for the formation of the Election Commission from among the members of the General Assembly, in a move that would achieve independence for associations in managing the election process for their boards of directors.

The amendments to the new law also include the regulation of the functions of the general assembly in its ordinary and extraordinary meetings, and the right of each member to delegate another member to represent him in the meetings of the general assembly, provided that the delegation is by an official power of attorney, before the date set for the meeting, and it is not permissible for a member to act on behalf of more than One member, or a member of the board of directors acting on behalf of any other member, to limit interference with the will of the members of the Free General Assembly to elect members of the Board of Directors.

The statement pointed out that the new amendments contribute to facilitating the societies’ practice of their activities compatible with their objectives specified in their articles of association, by notifying the Ministry of their participation or organizing seminars, conferences, training courses, or similar activities.

The amendments specify the period of time for the associations to keep their financial and administrative records and the types of records, thus reducing the burdens of associations by keeping all types of records for an indefinite period, and also allowing members of the General Assembly to view all the association’s records in a step that will achieve more transparency and governance in the work of societies, and activate General assembly monitoring of the board of directors.

The amendments include a progression in the penalties in the event that a person commits a violation that would offend the association and its objectives, and allow for reconciliation in the crimes stipulated in the law.