Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry rejects request to repeal law on NGOs

Ministry rejects request to repeal law on NGOs

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Civil society organisations celebrated the International Human Rights Day last year. Hean Rangsey

Ministry rejects request to repeal law on NGOs

The Ministry of Interior has rejected a request by some 100 civil society organisations to repeal the Law on Associations and NGOs (Lango).

The ministry said the current Lango is in line with the Constitution and had gone through many rounds of consultation among relevant parties before it was approved by the National Assembly.

The rejection came after some 100 organisations released a joint statement demanding that the government amend some articles in the law.

They said the current Lango affects not only well-established NGOs but also associations and local communities operating throughout the country.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the ministry said: “The law had been consulted publicly and widely for 20 years before being passed in August 2015. The ministry has welcomed input from stakeholders and agreed to accept proposals for amendments to some articles of the law.

“The ministry hopes to continue discussions to find a consensus on amendments to some other articles in the near future,” it said.

The ministry said it is willing to promote collaboration with NGOs and associations and would continue to organise more meetings with them to obtain positive results.

Rights group Licadho’s monitoring manager Am Sam Ath defended the proposal, saying it reflected the reality and challenges encountered by NGOs and associations throughout the Kingdom.

“It’s not uncommon. Various reports or statements [by NGOs] have faced rejection by the government. We don’t know why, but the government has always said some reports or statements are pro-opposition and political.

“The reports reflected reality on the ground and the difficulties faced by civil society.

Ministry secretary of state Bun Hun, who oversees amendments to the law, declined to comment on Thursday.

The NGOs’ joint statement insisted the Lango in its current state was unnecessary and merely a tool to restrict freedom of expression and assembly, and establishment of organisations.

It said previous meetings between civil society representatives and the ministry had failed to produce positive results regarding proposed amendments to Lango.

It alleged the government lacks the will to amend the law.

“We believe civil society, local communities and associations should be able to carry out their work towards developing Cambodia without restriction, violation and interference imposed by the current Lango,” the statement said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of