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NGOs make case on law

As the passage of a controversial draft law on NGOs appears imminent, civil society organisations operating in Cambodia once again pressed their case on the need for more transparency and enhanced collaboration yesterday.

Civil society representatives met in Phnom Penh to discuss the potential national impact of the Draft Law on Associations and Non-Government Organisations.

According to a press statement, a legal analysis of the 2011 draft law – the last version to be seen publicly – revealed “damaging social and economic consequences to Cambodia”. The analysis cited loss of productivity, increased expenditures and diminishing employment opportunities, among other issues, as potential impacts.

“Cambodia’s ability to realise development goals outlined in national and sub-national policies … is seriously under threat,” said Cooperation Committee of Cambodia executive director Soeung Saroeun in the statement.

ActionAid country director Caroline McCausland aired worries that the law would negatively affect international NGOs, as well as hurt business prospects for the Kingdom.

“Businesses thrive on a transparent flow of information, which allows clear calculation of opportunity and risk,” she said.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday confirmed that the draft law would be discussed again on June 5.

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