Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN’s Kiai adds to NGO law chorus



UN’s Kiai adds to NGO law chorus

UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai at the Council of Ministers in 2014.
UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai at the Council of Ministers in 2014. Hong Menea

UN’s Kiai adds to NGO law chorus

Just one day after the government hit out at the United Nations for criticising its controversial draft NGO law, a UN human rights expert yesterday heaped more criticism on the proposed legislation.

In a statement, Maina Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, reiterated his call to the government to “ensure that civil society can meaningfully contribute to the elaboration” of the law, which is expected to be adopted by the National Assembly this month.

“It is ironic that the drafting of a law regulating civil society in Cambodia excludes civil society from the process,” he said, adding that he has “serious concerns about a process that would result in the adoption of the LANGO [Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations] without meaningful public participation”.

The legislation has been heavily criticised for the secrecy in which it was drafted and sent to the Council of Ministers.

But, Kiai noted, “sidestepping the democratic process by leaving out civil society actors and their important contribution from the process, and avoiding international scrutiny of legislation, is not without precedent in Cambodia”.

Kiai, who visited the Kingdom in 2014, urged the government to publicise the text and allow for public consultation. He said he would be on hand for “any expert advice” the government may need.

But the government has so far not taken kindly to such opinions.

On Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong met with five UN representatives to let them know that their comments about the law were not welcome.

“There are no words allowing you to comment or criticise the royal government about the draft law, which is not under your mandate,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Scholarship winner tells secrets to success

    Chhim Chaknineath was awarded the Chevening Scholarship for one year of postgraduate study in the UK for the academic year 2022-2023 along with a group of 10 other outstanding students who applied. She spent more than a year researching and studying – as well as consulting with