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Ministers react to UN criticism of NGO Law

Ministers react to UN criticism of NGO Law

Government officials yesterday said criticisms of the draft NGO law made by United Nations Special Rapporteur Surya Subedi on Wednesday were out of date as significant modifications are being discussed for the “fourth generation” of the legislation. During a session at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday, UN Special Rapporteur Surya Subedi flatly informed the Human Rights Council that the Cambodian Government should scrap the current version of the controversial draft law.

“The government should not to proceed with the draft NGO law in its present form,” he said.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said yesterday the criticisms were ill-directed as there was a fourth generation of the law that heeded advice from international organisations.

“International organisations have given a lot of advice, consultation with ministers has given a lot of modifications and the draft is now in the fourth generation,” he said.

The draft law has drawn strong criticism from NGOs in Cambodia and abroad that have slammed the legislation’s burdensome registration requirements and provisions they say allow the government to arbitrarily shut down organisations that fall foul of it.

They have also attacked the process of drafting the law, claiming the government has effectively shut them out from have any meaningful input on the legislation.

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