Ministry defends NGO law

The draft law on non-governmental organisations has been written in line with the constitution and other governments’ plans for similar laws, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement yesterday.

The controversial law has come under fire from local and international NGOs, along with UN representatives last week, for a lack of transparency and consultation in the drafting process.

“The draft of the [law] . . . is based on the experience and implementation of other countries in the world. This drafting process is based on the 1993 Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the international treaties on the rights of people and the rights of political activity,” the statement reads. “Any concerns from certain circles related to restrictions of freedoms of the people do not reflect the exact meaning of this law.”

Tek Vannara, executive director of the NGO Forum, said the government needed to provide a consultation process before the draft was passed to the National Assembly.

“They need to provide enough space for consultation; otherwise, the law will be meaningless to the people. Who will this law affect? It will affect NGOs and civil society and the people. So we should be consulted.”