UN Rights Expert Urges Cambodia to Review NGO Law Further

Cambodia should review and not adopt “in its present form” a draft legislation designed to regulat the operations of non-governmental organizations in the country, an independent U.N. human rights experts said Wednesday, Sept. 28.

“Of course, as a sovereign country, Cambodia is entitled to enact a law on NGOs, but the decision to adopt a law to regulate NGOs and associations is a critical initiative which requires careful attention, given its long-term implications for the development of Cambodian society,” Surya  Subedi, the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, said in his report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Local and international NGOs in Cambodia have been campaigning against the passage of the draft law, which they said would give the Cambodian government more control over aid and development groups working in the country.

The draft legislation was set to be sent to the country’s National Assembly but the Cambodian government decided to send it back to the Ministry of Interview for review and consideration.

Subedi called on the government to consider in its review the concerns raised during public consultations on the draft legislation, especially regarding its “onerous” registration requirements for NGOs.

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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.