Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t reviews NGOs’ inputs

Gov’t reviews NGOs’ inputs

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Officials discuss proposed revisions to LANGO at the interior ministry on Wednesday. Ministry of Justice

Gov’t reviews NGOs’ inputs

A government working group is evaluating proposed revisions to the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO). The group has reviewed input from various NGOs and will hold further consultations with them before referring recommended reforms for ratification.

The group held a meeting at the Ministry of Interior on February 17 led by secretary of state Bun Honn to consider suggested reforms submitted by NGOs.

Ministry of Justice secretary of state Chin Malin said after attending the meeting: “We reviewed their input to determine whether their requests conformed to a legal basis. We also looked at various legal perspectives and compared the proposals with practices in other countries around the region.”

“The working group found some proposals acceptable while others were not. There are some additional points about which we will discuss further with NGOs in order to understand their goals and intentions,” Malin said.

The group’s report will be discussed with participating NGOs and will be referred for higher level discussions before a final decision is issued about whether to amend some articles in the law, he said.

LANGO was promulgated in August 2015, consisting of nine chapters and 39 articles. Since then, NGOs and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have complained that it is overly restrictive and requested that the government amend 14 sections entailing articles 1, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 20, 24, 25, 26, 30, 31, 32 and 35.

Kang Savang, a monitor with the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said the most controversial articles are 10, 24 and 26. Article 10 requires notification to the interior ministry if an NGO changes its address, a bank account or leaders.

He noted that Article 24 also poses a challenge for NGOs and CSOs as it broadly states that such organisations must maintain neutrality towards political parties in the Kingdom.

“The law requires neutrality, but it did not explain specifically what is regarded as neutral. It is a dangerous point for us. For example, if an NGO staff member meets politically involved individuals in a setting such as a cafe, should that be seen as non-neutral? This is why we need clarity,” Savang said.

Article 26 describes financial and other activity reports which NGOs must submit to the government each year. It also references another portion of the law which stipulates that NGOs are to be deregistered if they fail to comply with any pertinent regulations, he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group