Rights Group Wants Sit-Downs With Government

Local rights group Adhoc on Thursday called on Prime Minister Hun Sen and other government officials to hold regular meetings with NGOs in order to better understand the human rights situation in the country.

Speaking at a press conference marking the release of a report on freedom of expression, Adhoc’s senior investigator, Chan Soveth, said he also wanted the government to understand that most NGOs are not aligned with any political party.

“We want there to be a general practice for civil society organizations to be able to meet and discuss issues directly with officials from various government institutions,” he said.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said that, on the contrary, NGOs are prejudiced against the government.

“I have a number of friends with NGOs. They never want to have a cup of coffee with me,” he said.

“It’s not the government prejudice against NGOs, but NGOs themselves. They have a preconception of independence, which means for them they never talk, walk or speak with government members.”

naren@cambodiadaily.com; crothers@cambodiadaily.com

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