UN Continues Campaign Against Draft NGO Law

Following a meeting on Thursday in which Foreign Minister Hor Namhong scolded four U.N. representatives for their public criticism of the drafting process of a new NGO law, the U.N. released a statement Friday doubling down on its concern over the law, the last draft of which was released in 2011.

“It is ironic that the drafting of a law regulating civil society in Cambodia excludes civil society from the process,” Maina Kiai, U.N. special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, is quoted as saying in the statement. 

“Sidestepping the democratic process by leaving out civil society actors and their important contribution from the process, and avoiding international scrutiny of legislation, is not without precedent in Cambodia,” Mr. Kiai is quoted as saying, noting that recently passed laws on elections and the judiciary were passed with little or no public consultation.

Following his meeting with the U.N. representatives on Thursday, Mr. Namhong said he asked the group to respect the U.N. charter, which promises not to interfere in a country’s domestic affairs.

meyn@cambodiadaily.com

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