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75 NGOs seek resumption of talks on LANGO amendments

Ry Sochan / Khmer Times Share:
NGO representatives attend a meeting at the Interior Ministry last year. KT/Siv Channa

Seventy-five NGOs have asked the government to resume negotiations with civil society organisations on the draft LANGO amendment, which are in limbo, in order to speed up the process.

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“Although six meetings have been conducted so far, there is no final agreement between the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and CSOs yet on controversial articles,” a joint statement said yesterday.

According to the statement, the 75 NGOs insisted that the government should amend 14 Articles of LANGO which are of concern to them.

They urged the government to speed up the process to complete the draft amendment law as soon as possible with a clear roadmap.

“Based on the challenges and recommendations submitted and discussed with the MOI, CSOs once again strongly urge the government working group, led by the MOI, to provide an opportunity to further study the content to be drafted in the draft amendment law,” the statement said.

The NGOs called for the government to continue to cooperate and inclusively discuss the content of the draft amendment transparently with CSOs till the draft law is accepted to be sent for legislation.

They expressed concerns over presumptions of harm to national security, stability, public order, culture and good traditions of Cambodian society as reasons to deny for registration of associations and organisations.

The NGOs are also concerned over the requirements for groups to register when they jointly create ad hoc working groups without organisational structure and a time frame for activities.

“The requirement to be neutral to all political parties brings a deep concern for CSOs to perform their activities because the government officials can interpret the term ‘neutrality’ according to particular circumstances or political tension,” said the statement.

Korn Savang, COMFREL’s coordinator of election observers, told Khmer Times yesterday that the MOI working group has completed the amendment article consultation with the CSOs, but there is no confirmation if the government will amend the requested articles or not.

“That is why the CSOs still continue to request and urge the government, not the MOI working group, to decide on making the amendments because the law has a number of points which are obstacles and challenges CSO activities,” he said.

Savang said CSOs want to know how the government will draft the law so that they can continue the amendment process at all stages of the draft law.

“In each stage, how and what it is amended or drafted. We want to know it. That is why we insist that the government gives us opportunities to continue discussing the amendment,” he added.

Interior Ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and Sak Setha could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The government working group will hold a meeting on Friday at the MOI to review the 14 Articles of the LANGO Law, which were proposed to be amended by CSOs, a ministry notice said on Tuesday.

 

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