Xinhua Tuesday, 02 June 2015 425 views

Cambodia defends controversial draft NGO bill

PHNOM PENH, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday defended the controversial draft law on non- governmental organizations (NGOs) and associations, saying that the bill aims to protect and support the activities of NGOs and associations in Cambodia.

"It is necessary for Cambodia to make the law on NGOs and associations," he said during the inauguration ceremony of a national road in Kampong Speu province.

The law does not prevent the activities of NGOs and associations, but it aims to fight against terrorism financing, money laundering, and creation of illegal armed forces, he said.

"NGOs and associations should not worry about this law. It will protect you, support you, and open up to your activities," he said, adding that the government will soon approve this draft law and send it to the National Assembly.

The draft law will require NGOs and associations to register their nationalities with the Cambodian government in order to have legal standing and they are required to file reports on their activities and finances each year to the government.

According to the figures of the Ministry of Interior, currently, there are 2,672 NGOs and 1,706 associations operating in Cambodia.

Speaking during a meeting with visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Scott Busby on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said the draft NGO law is not targeted to prevent or limit the activities of NGOs, but to see those NGOs operate in a transparent manner.

"At present, Cambodia is enforcing the rule of law, and the government has done everything transparently, so NGOs and associations should be transparent too. There should be nothing to hide," he told reporters after the meeting.

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