Interior Minister Sar Kheng has urged the Cambodian Red Cross, headed by first lady Bun Rany, to be more “transparent” and “accountable” to combat long-standing criticisms that the organisation distributes aid for the political benefit of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.
While acknowledging the criticism of the organisation, Kheng told attendees at a Red Cross event in Prey Veng province on Tuesday that “in some places [this] was not true”.
He then warned attendees that the organisation had to be “careful” to avoid such perceptions by adhering to the principles of neutrality upon which the international Red Cross movement was founded.
“We need to work with transparency and accountability and this is very important, because we have to work hard to collect resources, sweat and blood from donors, and if we use it with no responsibility and transparency, it means that we reduce our resources for the future,” Kheng said.
“This will mean they don’t trust us and they won’t have the heart to help anymore because their help cannot reach people, or the project is supposed to cost $1 million and we report it cost $5 million.
“This shows a lack of responsibility, accountability and transparency and we need to be careful about these issues.”
In recent weeks, the CRC has joined efforts to distribute water to drought-stricken provinces, with Prime Minister Hun Sen pointedly noting the opposition party’s lack of resources to help those in need.