Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government calls on NGOs to avoid activities linked to crime



Government calls on NGOs to avoid activities linked to crime

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn. Heng Chivoan

Government calls on NGOs to avoid activities linked to crime

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn on Tuesday called on all foreign NGOs to avoid at all costs activities which could be associated or linked to money laundering, financing of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

He said this was critical in order to avoid negative effects on the financial system, investment flows and political sentiment in Cambodia.

Sokhonn made the call at the Consultation Meeting with Foreign Non-governmental Organisations which is aimed at promoting and strengthening cooperation, determining challenges and identifying appropriate solutions to effectively strengthen the enforcement of laws and regulations.

The inaugural meeting, attended by 300 representatives of organisations and communities, was held at the ministry. Sokhonn also called on all foreign NGOs to carry out their financial transactions only through banks licensed by the National Bank of Cambodia.

“I urge all foreign NGOs to operate in accordance with the legal framework and in compliance with the regulatory requirements that are in force."

“Furthermore, please avoid at all costs activities which could be associated with or linked to money laundering, financing of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction as stipulated by the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering, so that you can avoid falling into its grey list and prevent any negative effect on the Cambodian financial system, investment flows and political sentiments,” he stressed.

On the meeting itself, he said: “This forum will serve as a chance for all relevant parties to jointly determine the challenges and identify appropriate solutions in order to enhance enforcement of the laws and regulations that uphold the rule of law.”

Sokhonn said the government fully recognised the concerns of some development partners and civil society organisations with regard to their rights and freedom to operate at local levels in the context of the new Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) which came into force this month.

“But in my view, only a clearly defined legal basis and regulatory framework which are firm pillars can support our long-term cooperation with harmony and success,” he said.

Sokhonn said such a foundation will promote and strengthen cooperation between the government and foreign NGOs to serve and protect the best interests of the country and people.

He said Lango was enacted to protect the freedom and rights to form associations and NGOs in Cambodia and it also aims to defend the legal rights and interests of those aided by NGOs as well as those of the public.

“The law also helps to enhance partnerships and cooperation between associations and NGOs with public authorities so that we can together develop our society and bring about progress in all fields,” he said.

Edith Van Wijngaarden, Humanity & Inclusion in Cambodia director, which works on disability issues in the Kingdom, said while she could not confirm her organisation’s budget spend, she had raised some problems for discussion at the meeting.

She said such discussions with the relevant parties will provide opportunities for all to jointly find, report and determine challenges in order to identify the appropriate solutions and effectively enforce Cambodian laws and regulations.

“In fact, my organisation does not have many problems in carrying out our work, but we do have some issues that can be resolved. I have raised those at the meeting, but I cannot discuss them openly,” she said, citing confidentiality.

Roberto Pavetto, a Don Bosco School and Organisation representative who also attended the meeting, said he supports consultation because it will provide an opportunity for relevant parties to discuss the problems they face when carrying out their missions.

He said his organisation is working on technical education and other sectors and is not involved in politics.

“My organisation does not work with politics or human rights. We teach young people new skills and knowledge to enhance their careers. I do not have any problems with authorities or the law. Our only problem is that we are short of money,” he said.

As of December last year, there are 386 foreign NGOs with a valid memorandum of understanding.

The foreign NGOs are from various countries across Asia, America, Europe and Australia and operate in sectors such as education, health, social affairs, agriculture, vocational training, community development, environment and mine action.

Kin Phea, the International Relations Institute of the Royal Academy of Cambodia director-general said: “Some organisations and associations, that have been opened, have goals and visions to serve the Cambodian people."

“We need to accept and appreciate their good work and give them due respect. At the same time, we have to be careful of those NGOs that have bad intentions.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Tottenham Hotspur to wear ISF Cambodia logo on jerseys in match against Sheffield United

    Last year, the Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) – an NGO providing education to underprivileged children in Cambodia – made global headlines with its “socially distanced” football initiative. This year, a world-class football club – Tottenham Hotspur FC – will wear special edition jerseys to show their support for ISF