Sar Kheng Warns NGOs Not to Aid CNRP’s Demonstrations

Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Wednesday released a statement warning civil society groups that they would be in breach of their operating contracts should they offer support, directly or indirectly, to the opposition CNRP at its planned three-day demonstration beginning Sunday.

The warning comes a day after some 70 representatives of local NGOs held a meeting to discuss the formation of teams to provide first aid and monitor the opposition’s demonstration against the results of July’s national election, which the CNRP alleges was riddled with irregularities.

In his statement, Mr. Kheng said that NGOs had already breached their contracts, which are submitted to the Interior Ministry in order to gain permission to operate in Cambodia, by aiding the opposition at Saturday’s prayer-protest at Freedom Park.

“Those behaviors and activities contradict the conditions of civil societies, associations and non-governmental organizations that are bound with effective laws and held at the Interior Ministry,” the statement says.

“The ministry has noticed that there are some civil societies, associations and non-governmental organizations giving support to individuals and a political party through conducting activities directly and indirectly, making statements and calling the citizens to vote for a political party, or mobilizing the citizens to stage the protest against an individual or a political party or national institution and governmental institution as well as against July 28’s election result,” it continues.

Soeung Saroeun, executive director of the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia, which organized Tuesday’s meeting, said he had received Mr. Kheng’s statement but argued that civil society groups had not broken any contract.

“We have never done anything outside our conditions,” he said.

“The demonstrators will even not have a place to defecate during these three days, so their health will be affected,” Mr. Saroeun said, noting that the Ministry of Health is not prepared for this issue. “We will not retreat from helping the people because our first aid is necessary.”

Related Stories

Latest News