Cambodia Must Withdraw Deeply Flawed NGO Law

In an open letter issued today, Civil Rights Defenders joins 39 other regional and international civil society organisations in urging the government of Cambodia to immediately withdraw the draft Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO) submitted before the National Assembly and apparently scheduled for a vote on 10 July 2015.

The draft law undermines Cambodia’s human rights obligations under domestic and international law. It is also unnecessary because legislation currently in force is sufficient to regulate the activities of civil society groups.

This legislation, if adopted, could suffocate both domestic and international civil society organisations and movements in Cambodia. The signatories warn that the law would give the Interior, Foreign Affairs and other ministries sweeping, arbitrary powers to shut down existing domestic and foreign membership groups and staffed organisations, unchecked through judicial review, and to prohibit the creation of new ones, while criminalising activities by non-registered groups.

They call on Cambodia to instead focus on necessary legal reforms to guarantee in practice everyone’s basic human rights.

Read the statement in full here: Law on Associations and Non Governmental Organisations.