NGOs Expect Strong Opposition to New Draft Law

An umbrella group of NGOs says it hopes to attract even more support for a letter opposing the third and latest draft of a controversial NGO law than it did for the second draft. 

The Cooperation Committee for Cambodia, which represents several NGOs, said 670 groups signed on to its previous letter urging the government to reconsider and redraft the proposed law.

Yesterday, Soeung Saroeun, the CCC’s senior operations and finance manager, said he had collected signatures from 70 groups opposing the third draft in just one day. He hoped to collect more during a workshop on good governance today in Battambang City.

“I think that all NGOs will support this statement,” Mr Saroeun said. “It is very important to them.” As it now stands, the law would require all NGOs and associations in the country to register with the government and file annual financial reports.

The government says it needs the law to properly regulate the sector. But NGOs say the law’s re­quirements would overburden the smallest of them, and that it fails to detail the reasons the government may deny registration or dissolve a group, offers no time limit on appeals and leaves key terms undefined.

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