With the Consultative Group meeting between donors and government scheduled to start on Thursday, local NGOs on Monday released their official list of recommendations for 2006.
The detailed 77-page statement touches on everything from human trafficking to land mines and stresses many of the points noted in this year’s donor-government joint monitoring indicators.
But the NGOs go further than donors in several areas, including a call for a restructured and independent Supreme Council of Magistracy and National Election Committee, and the establishment of an independent national human rights commission.
The report also calls for the law on political parties to be redrawn to require financial transparency, and for freedom of information on civilian government activities to be guaranteed, the NGOs said.
On agriculture, the NGOs call for a shift from large economic land concessions to smaller social concessions, including the cancellation of all concessions over the 10,000-hectare limit set out in Article 59 of the Land Law.
On health and education, the NGOs remain concerned about the disbursement of budgetary funds despite improvements in this area in recent years. Dr Sin Somuny, of the healthcare NGO umbrella group Medicam, said that 83 percent of health funds were distributed in 2005 while 58 percent of the education budget was spent.
Last week, a group of international rights groups led by Human Rights Watch and Global Witness called on donors to take punitive action against the government if human rights abuse, deforestation and widespread corruption continue this year. The groups called for donors to threaten to transfer aid designated for government use to local NGOs. NGO representatives uniformly disagreed with this proposal on Monday.
“NGOs cannot replace the government, they do not have the capacity, especially on large-scale infrastructure,” said Thun Saray, director of local rights group Adhoc.
“NGOs complement the government, but do not compete with it,” he said.
“Before 1999, no donors raised the issue of good governance with the government; the CG was just an economic conference,” Thun Saray said. “Through advocacy, I remember in 2001, the donors for the first time wrote the government with concern about the pace of legal and judicial reform.”
The NGOs’ statement will be presented to the CG meeting on Thursday by three activists elected Monday: Haidy Ear Dupuy of Christian NGO World Vision, Thida Khus of Silaka and Dr Sin Somuny.