PHNOM PENH, Dec. 2, (Khmer Times) –Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) want the government to make draft laws available for public debate before they become law.
Mi Nac, from the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC), said that his organization has asked to see the official drafts of the new laws on associations and NGOs; cybercrimes, agricultural land; trade unions and on telecommunications.
Mr. Nac, the coalition building and networking manager for the CCC, said that the laws do not comply with international human rights obligations and are too vague, meaning they can be interpreted in different ways.
“We want the government to accept ideas and opinions from stakeholders, including recommendations from CSOs, so the government can reflect and make changes to those laws,” Mr. Mi Nac said after the bi-monthly meeting of CCC members.
So far, the CCC hasn’t received any draft of any law from any ministry. Mr. Nac is especially concerned about the potential impact of the proposed new law on NGOs. “It may be very harmful to CSOs and individuals who are critical of government policies,” he said.
He added that CSOs are also concerned that implementing the new laws will restrict the room for dissenting voices and criminalize demands for justice. They may also restrict other democratic freedoms.
“We want to have accountability and transparency; we must remember that Cambodia is a democratic country,” Mr. Nac said.