Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Governor bans NGO events




Governor bans NGO events

Villagers protest against CNRP leader Kem Sokha in Ratanakkiri province in May
Villagers protest against CNRP leader Kem Sokha in Ratanakkiri province in May. Provincial governor Pao Ham Pan issued a letter last week asking all citizens to halt protests during election season. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Governor bans NGO events

The Ratanakkiri provincial governor has told all officials and citizens in the province not to participate in civil society events during the upcoming campaign and election period.

In a letter dated June 13 and obtained by the Post yesterday, provincial governor Pao Ham Pan asks NGOs not to schedule events between June 27 and July 28 because public officials need to focus on organising and overseeing the elections.

“Our hall does not allow any participation from local town, district, commune or village authorities and from citizens in any press conference, meeting or study tour held by any NGO because it is the campaign and election days, so authorities need time to manage their work and

citizens need an opportunity to use their political rights,” the letter says.

Clarifying the letter’s contents yesterday, governor Ham Pan said that NGOs would not be punished for failing to heed the letter, which he said was distributed to several organisations earlier in the month.

“It’s an informatory letter, not a law, so it is not a case of violating rights,” he said. “It is aimed at easing the election process.”

“The commune chief is the one who has to sign voters’ identification letters and distribute information tickets to citizens. When they are away and busy at events, who is responsible for that?” he said.

Chhay Thy, coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said that his organisation had not received the letter from the provincial hall but he had read it yesterday after obtaining it from another NGO and found it to be unconstitutional.

“People have a right to participate in meetings and any events, and our constitution does not stop people from doing so during the election time,” he said.

Adhoc would continue to organise meetings with the province’s villagers and authorities in the next month, he said.

National Election Committee secretary general Tep Nytha said he was not aware of the letter and that he would contact Ham Pan to clarify the situation.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JUSTINE DRENNAN

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,