Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry rejects request to repeal law on NGOs

Ministry rejects request to repeal law on NGOs

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Civil society organisations celebrated the International Human Rights Day last year. Hean Rangsey

Ministry rejects request to repeal law on NGOs

The Ministry of Interior has rejected a request by some 100 civil society organisations to repeal the Law on Associations and NGOs (Lango).

The ministry said the current Lango is in line with the Constitution and had gone through many rounds of consultation among relevant parties before it was approved by the National Assembly.

The rejection came after some 100 organisations released a joint statement demanding that the government amend some articles in the law.

They said the current Lango affects not only well-established NGOs but also associations and local communities operating throughout the country.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the ministry said: “The law had been consulted publicly and widely for 20 years before being passed in August 2015. The ministry has welcomed input from stakeholders and agreed to accept proposals for amendments to some articles of the law.

“The ministry hopes to continue discussions to find a consensus on amendments to some other articles in the near future,” it said.

The ministry said it is willing to promote collaboration with NGOs and associations and would continue to organise more meetings with them to obtain positive results.

Rights group Licadho’s monitoring manager Am Sam Ath defended the proposal, saying it reflected the reality and challenges encountered by NGOs and associations throughout the Kingdom.

“It’s not uncommon. Various reports or statements [by NGOs] have faced rejection by the government. We don’t know why, but the government has always said some reports or statements are pro-opposition and political.

“The reports reflected reality on the ground and the difficulties faced by civil society.

Ministry secretary of state Bun Hun, who oversees amendments to the law, declined to comment on Thursday.

The NGOs’ joint statement insisted the Lango in its current state was unnecessary and merely a tool to restrict freedom of expression and assembly, and establishment of organisations.

It said previous meetings between civil society representatives and the ministry had failed to produce positive results regarding proposed amendments to Lango.

It alleged the government lacks the will to amend the law.

“We believe civil society, local communities and associations should be able to carry out their work towards developing Cambodia without restriction, violation and interference imposed by the current Lango,” the statement said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • PM set to mend ties with US

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to US Congressman Ted Yoho, saying he is ready to improve Cambodia-US relations, and not take up issues of disagreements which have become a barrier between the two countries’ bilateral cooperation. His response to Yoho came after the congressman