Council to Decide on Legality of NGO Law Next Week

The Constitutional Council of Cambodia will meet on Wednesday to decide on the legality of a controversial draft NGO law that was passed by the National Assembly and Senate last month, according to the council’s spokesman.

“On the afternoon of August 12, we will hold a plenary meeting, which means the meeting will make a decision on whether or not the law is constitutional,” said Prum Nhean Vichet. 

“The council’s decision means a final decision, which is not allowed to be appealed.”

If approved by the Constitutional Council, the law would only need to be signed by King Norodom Sihamoni before coming into force.

The Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations has been blasted by local and international NGOs along with foreign donors, who worry it will be used to silence groups that are critical of the government.

On July 30, 13 opposition lawmakers submitted a letter to the Constitutional Council urging it to re­ject the law, which critics say would place unconstitutional restrictions on the rights of association, expression and political participation.

Mr. Nhean Vichet said the council would meet with government officials on Tuesday and CNRP lawmakers on Wednesday morning before making a final decision on the law.

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