Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NGOs say input and transparency are key



NGOs say input and transparency are key

NGOs say input and transparency are key

In the wake of a speech by Prime Minister Hun Sen denouncing civil society’s criticism of the way that three judiciary laws sailed through the Council of Ministers without outside input or transparency, NGOs released an open letter yesterday calling for the Kingdom’s renewed commitment to a democratic legislative process.

“Discussion on the impact of policies should be considered and deliberated among stakeholders to arrive at legislation that will best serve the country,” reads the letter, released by an umbrella group of NGOs, including the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia and the NGO Forum.

During a graduation ceremony at the National Institute of Education on Monday, Hun Sen lashed out at repeated requests from civil society groups for the government to consider their input on the draft laws.

“The law stated in the constitution does not allow us to offer [these draft laws] to anyone besides sending it to the Council of Ministers [and] the Council of Ministers sends it to parliament,” Hun Sen said.

The three laws languished at the Council of Ministers for some 10 years before being passed in a flurry of veiled activity in the past few months.

Opposition lawmaker-elect Mu Sochua characterised the lengthy and “secretive nature” involved in the passage of the draft laws as anything but democratic.

“A draft law in part belongs to the people and civil society groups . . . it must be an open process,” she said.

Ruling Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap said that enough discussion on the approved judicial draft laws had taken place.

“Civil society groups play an important role with lawmakers but [their role in] passing the laws is different,” Yeap said.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, described the response of civil society as “unprofessional”.

“The National Assembly is the real guardian of the people . . . these civil society groups are not policeman and we don’t need them. A lawyer cannot fix a car properly, that’s why we have mechanics,”
he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants