Cambodia's NGO Law Needs 'Serious Response' From Donors, Rights Groups Say

By Ivy Mungcal 30 August 2011

Several human rights groups are urging donors to review their aid programs in Cambodia should the country enact a law that international and local non-governmental organizations fear would give the Cambodian government control over NGO operations in the country.

>> In Global Trend to ‘Restrict’ Civil Society: Cambodia Moves Closer to Enacting NGO Law

>> Cambodia’s Consecutive Warnings, Suspension of Critical NGOs a Preview of Things to Come?

“The draft law threatens to severely restrict civil society’s right to freedom of association and expression, therefore preventing civil society organizations and NGOs from fulfilling these roles,” Human Rights Watch and nine other international rights groups wrote in a letter to European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton. “As such, the law will limit the ability of Cambodia’s development partners to ensure that programs reach their intended grass-roots beneficiaries.”

The 10 groups sent similar letters to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.K. First Secretary of State William Hague and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd, the Guardian says. The groups described the draft law, which is now being considered by Cambodia’s Council of Ministers, as a “grave threat” that “should elicit a serious response from Cambodia’s development partners.”

This is not the first time NGOs have urged donors to pressure Cambodia against enacting the draft NGO law. The United States has also already threatened to withdraw its aid program in the country if the measure is adopted.

>> Donors Urged to Halt Aid for Cambodia

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About the author

Ivy mungcal 400x400
Ivy Mungcal

As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes 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.

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