The Ministry of Interior warned NGOs and associations yesterday to submit their annual financial reports or face legal action, including being shut down.
The ministry released a statement setting a February deadline for NGOs to comply with the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) to submit their operation activities and bank statements.
“There are only 648 associations and NGOs that have fulfilled the obligation to comply with Lango,” the statement said.
Chhim Kan, chief of association and political affairs department at the Interior Ministry, said that they are waiting for the remaining organisations to comply with the procedure.
The controversial Lango has been enforced since 2015.
National and international organisations have called the law restrictive for the fundamental rights of NGOs.
Kang Savang, coordinator at Comfrel, said his association had already submitted the relevant documents to the ministry.
“We told the ministry that it has to consider some small associations working with local communities around the country can have difficulties sending a report to Phnom Penh,” Mr Savang said.
He said that large NGOs have headquarters in Phnom Penh, as opposed to smaller, on the ground organisations.
The report showed there are nearly 5,000 NGOs and associations registered with the ministry, but most have shut down and have no activities due to the financial crisis.
“They all have until the February deadline to fulfill their obligations, otherwise the ministry will take legal action and delete them from the list because some of them do not have any activities,” said Chhan Chansopheak, spokesman for the General Administration Department.
Mr Chansopheak said the ministry already issued a warning in July.
“This is the final notification, and when the deadline is passed we will take legal action,” he said.