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Cambodia: Govt. rejects CSOs' request to repeal Law on Associations and NGOs following a joint statement from 100 CSOs

Author: Dara Mech, The Phnom Penh Post, Published on: 14 February 2020

"Ministry rejects request to repeal law on NGOs", 14 February 2020

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

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.

…, the ministry said: “The law had been consulted publicly and widely for 20 years before being passed ... 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…

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…

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

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.

… “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.

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