Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Real’ reform urged: US envoy lends NGOs his support

‘Real’ reform urged: US envoy lends NGOs his support

‘Real’ reform urged: US envoy lends NGOs his support

US Ambassador William Todd has criticised discussion over the political neutrality of NGOs and election watchdogs at recent election reform talks as an “unnecessary distraction”.

“I strongly believe that any effort to restrict the independence of NGOs would be a major step backward in Cambodia’s democratic development, especially as it relates to election monitoring,” Todd wrote in his column for the Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper.

A joint election reform committee agreed last month to 14 areas of proposed reform that – on the urging of the ruling party – included the neutrality of NGOs, despite the opposition calling it “irrelevant”.

“Given the urgent need to press forward with genuine reforms that will improve the electoral process, debating the role of civil society groups . . . is an unnecessary distraction,“ Todd wrote.

The government has accused election watchdogs of trying to discredit the election on behalf of the opposition.

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Prime Minister: Take back islands from inactive developers

    The government will “take back” land on roughly 30 islands from private companies that have not made progress on planned developments, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech on Monday that also targeted land-grabbing villagers and idle provincial governors. Speaking at the inauguration of the

  • Land on capital’s riverfront is opened up for investment

    The government has signed off on a proposal to designate more than 9 hectares of land along Phnom Penh’s riverfront as state-private land, opening it up for private investment or long-term leasing. The 9.25-hectare stretch of riverfront from the capital’s Night Market to the