Representatives from more than 70 civil society organisations met on Tuesday to discuss requests they have submitted to the Ministry of Interior on the draft Law on Associations and NGOs (Lango).
Chhim Kan, the ministry’s deputy director-general in charge of the Department of Association and Political Party Affairs said the requests were put on the agenda of a working group meeting set to take place this weekend.
People’s Centre for Development and Peace president Yong Kim Eng told The Post on Tuesday that the civil society organisations had held a national-level consultative workshop on requests and recommendations to amend the Law on Associations and NGOs and continued activities with the ministry at a hotel in Phnom Penh.
He said 75 civil society organisations and associations attended the workshop to examine possibilities in preparation for meeting with the ministry. They also shared ideas for amending Lango.
He said the meeting between the ministry and civil society organisations had ended, but advocacy from civil society organisations was not over because amendments to Lango are continuing.
It is not yet known whether concerns and other input from civil society organisations would be incorporated into the draft.
“We discussed this together with participating civil society organisations because when the government ends its draft, our side will be invited to participate in the discussion,” he said.
Kim Eng said civil society organisations in the past had contributed input in five provinces and requested changes to some points.
That included incorporating many points into the draft, including requesting less complexity and formality in registration and reporting, and fewer restrictions on the activities of civil society organisations.
Kan told The Post on Tuesday that a technical working group had met for talks over amendments to the law six times already.
He said the working group has received a lot of input from civil society representatives for consideration.
He said the technical working group will hold a meeting to check and prepare the amendment on Friday.
“We held consultative meetings with the representatives of civil society organisations six times so far. So, all the requests and input will be incorporated [into the draft] and the working group will again check the landscape,” he said.
Consisting of nine chapters and 39 articles, the last amended Lango was approved in 2015.
National and international civil society organisations have criticised the law, saying it restricted the rights and freedoms of associations and NGOs to carry out their work.