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NGOs meet to discuss draft of anti-graft law

NGOs meet to discuss draft of anti-graft law

REPRESENTATIVES from local nongovernmental organisations held informal meetings on Monday afternoon in order to discuss the draft of the government’s long-awaited Anticorruption Law and formulate a common stance on the controversial piece of legislation.

The draft was released to lawmakers late last week and is set to be debated in the National Assembly on Wednesday. Opposition members have said they need more time to study the document.

Thun Saray, president of the rights group Adhoc, said representatives from the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, the NGO Forum on Cambodia and election monitor Comfrel, met to formulate recommendations on the law.

“It is an informal dialogue over the draft Law on Anticorruption … in order to find out what are the main areas of concern, and so we will speak in one voice rather than individually,” he said prior to the meeting.

Koul Panha, executive director of Comfrel, said that the draft law was confusing and required input from legal experts. Particularly, he said the law’s apparent intent to require asset disclosures from the leaders of NGOs and other civil society groups was worrying, as well as the constitution of the proposed Anticorruption Unit, the implementation body that will be formed under the Council of Ministers.

“The role of Anticorruption Unit shows it is going to be affiliated with the government and therefore raises concerns about its lack of independence,” he said. “I think that if the draft Law on Anticorruption lacks consultations with civil society and voters it will affect the interests of the Cambodian people and it will be against the principles of democracy in the Kingdom’s Constitution.”

Cheam Yeap, a senior lawmaker from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, could not be reached for comment Monday.

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