Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Consultation forum held with CSOs and NGOs

Consultation forum held with CSOs and NGOs

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Phnom Penh Municipal Hall held its first forum this year with CSOs and NGOs on Tuesday. Hong Menea

Consultation forum held with CSOs and NGOs

Phnom Penh Municipal Hall and civil society organisations on Tuesday held a consultation forum with the theme Development Partnership with non-Governmental organisations (NGOs), the first such meeting this year.

Around 700 people from various state institutions and 50 civil society organisations attended the forum, although some organisations and associations active in human rights, election monitoring and advocacy work were absent.

Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng said such a forum served as a mechanism to address differences between authorities and civil society organisations.

Civil society organisations, Sreng said, have contributed significantly to Cambodia’s development in nearly all sectors and authorities were not intent on restricting their rights and freedoms. He said he had instructed local authorities at all levels to ensure they can carry out their activities without restriction or discrimination.

“Some 728 organisations in Phnom Penh have been carrying out their activities without any obstruction. Figures show that the number of associations and non-governmental organisations has not decreased as claimed by some individuals who always point the finger at the government and local authorities,” he said.

However, Khuong Sreng acknowledged that there was a lack of mutual understanding before such forums were initiated.

At Tuesday’s meeting, eight officials from various civil society organisations raised the issues of, among others, unnecessary bureaucracy at the local level and the restriction of rights and freedoms.

Deth Bunthon, secretary-general of the Young People’s Christian Association, urged authorities to address such issues.

“Everything we have brought up is pressing and needs to be addressed. We have faced difficulties dealing with complicated bureaucracy at local administrations. At commune level, for example, even a request to form an ageing people’s community has been rejected. After this forum, I hope local authorities will help facilitate our work,” he said.

Soeung Sen Karuna, spokesman for rights group Adhoc, welcomed the forum, although he said Adhoc and some other civil society organisations had not been invited.

“The forum should have been better organised. Some organisations working on human rights, election monitoring and other advocacy work were not invited because they have been known to criticise the government. Organising the forum this way, I think the municipal hall has failed to demonstrate its good will and sincerity,” he said.

Phnom Penh deputy governor Keut Chhe rebuffed Sen Karuna’s claims. He said the forum was non-partisan and was held regardless of political affiliation and without discrimination.

He said it was the civil society organisations that had failed to register their names for the forum.

Chhe said, however, that the municipal hall would allocate more time for registration to avoid accusations of forums being biased.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused