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Microfinance sector requests four CSOs to alter reports

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The reports claimed that some rural families had been driven into so much debt that they had to sell their land or work indefinitely with no hope of paying their loans in full. LICADHO

Microfinance sector requests four CSOs to alter reports

The Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA) has requested that four civil society groups change their reports from May 2019 to March 2020 that accuse their members of predatory lending techniques.

The reports claimed that some rural families had been driven into so much debt that they had to sell their land or work indefinitely with no hope of paying their loans in full.

The CMA claimed the reports were not true, but the civil society groups disagree.

The four groups that issued reports were the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights (Licadho), Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT), the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (Catu) and the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (Central).

The Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC) joined CMA in refuting the reports.

A joint-release said: “Some reports from civil society groups are not all accurate. It can give an opportunity to some bad people to incite and cause social disorder, which can affect the dignity of banks and financial institutions.

“They are the backbone of the national economy and security.”

On July 16, the four civil society groups released letters saying their reports were true and would not be changed.

CMA chairman Kea Borann told The Post on Tuesday that CMA does not have any additional response to the groups’ claims.

“We have already said that the news and interviews with customers are different from the report of those civil society groups. We told people about this. It is the responsibility of those civil society groups to answer for their reports,” he said.

ABC president In Channy told The Post on Tuesday that it still wants the reports changed.

“The letter clarified enough points. I do not want to give more comments about the meaning in the letter. I am sticking to the letter,” said Channy.

The civil society groups claimed that their reports cannot be changed.

In a joint statement, they said: “We will continue to protect the privacy of people who have chosen to share their stories with us on condition of anonymity. We encourage you, and all interested parties, to read the reports in full to better understand their purpose, methodology, and findings.”

The deputy director of monitoring at Licadho Am Sam Ath confirmed on Tuesday that the reports won’t be changed.

He encouraged the CMA, ABC and relevant institutions to read and review the reports.

“Carefully read to understand the real purpose of this report. Our reports do not serve the interests of any political party. Our report would like to highlight some of the impacts on the human rights sector arising from some parts of microfinance loans,” he said.

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