Cambodia Backtracks on NGO Law

A man raises the Cambodian flag. The country's government has put on hold plans to pass a controversial NGO law. Photo by: Edson Walker / CC BY

The Cambodian government has put on hold plans to pass a controversial draft law that local and international civil society groups have criticized for what they described as restrictive provisions on the operations of non-governmental organizations in the country.

The government decided to send the draft law back to the Ministry of Interior for review and reconsideration in light of international reaction to some of its provisions, the Voice of America reports, citing Cambodia’s secretary of State for the Ministry of Interior.

The government’s move to review and delay the legislation’s approval was welcomed by civil society groups that have raised concerns over several sections of the law, such as its complicated registration process and unclear grounds for terminating or suspending an NGO’s operations.

At least one NGO official urged the Cambodian government to seriously consider suggestions from NGOs that were neglected in the law’s first draft.

“We should meet and listen to the ideas of the NGOs, so that the draft law can be accepted and agreed on by both sides. This is a good thing for our society,” So Sam Oeun of the Cambodian Defenders Project said, according to Voice of America.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.