Kem Sokha Calls for Inclusive Debate on NGO Law

CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha met with local civil society groups Wednesday to discuss their concerns over the much-criticized draft NGO law, which was approved by the Council of Ministers on June 5 and is now in the hands of parliament.

Critics are concerned that the increased control the law gives the government over the sector could inhibit the work NGOs do here, or shut down some organizations completely.

After meeting with 10 local NGOs, Mr. Sokha, the deputy president of the National Assembly, said he shared their concerns.

“The position of CNRP leaders and lawmakers is that we think that Cambodia has many laws that are more necessary and urgent than the [NGO] law,” he told reporters at the National Assembly, citing the three judicial laws passed by CPP lawmakers before the CNRP ended its postelection boycott of the National Assembly last year.

If the law is to progress, Mr. Sokha said, there must be inclusive debate on its contents.

“We must have very open consultations…in which all concerned parties can have an input—holding a one-day workshop is not enough.”

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