Cambodia: ICJ and other rights groups urge end to NGO law

The Cambodian government should withdraw a proposed law that would severely limit the rights of non governmental organizations (NGOs) in Cambodia, the ICJ and 10 other international human rights groups said in a letter to 44 foreign governments and the European Union.

The groups urged donors and others to press the government not to revive a 2011 draft law that was shelved under domestic and international pressure because it threatened freedom of association and expression.

Cambodia’s Council of Ministers discussed the draft NGO law on May 29 and is scheduled to discuss it again on June 5 before sending the measure to the National Assembly, dominated by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party.

A new law is unnecessary because existing legislation already addresses legitimate government concerns about the operations of NGOs, the international organizations said.

The letter was signed by the ICJ, Article 19, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum Asia), Civil Rights Defenders, Front Line Defenders, Global Witness, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, Protection International, and Southeast Asian Press Alliance.

Cambodia-Australia & Cambodia lango letter-Advocacy-Open letters-2015-ENG (full text in PDF)

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