Friday, February 18, 2011

Book on Legal Framework of NGOs in Cambodia


Since 1995, the Cambodian Government has initiated draft laws on NGOs and Associations in order to govern the conduct and operation of NGO’s. Moreover, in the early of the Royal Government in the 4th mandate announced on finalize the NGO and Association Law and according to National Strategy Development Plan 2009-2013 also mentioned on NGOs law as in page 26 “A law on NGOs will be passed after wide consultation with all stakeholders” and page 112 “the Royal Government will continue to pursue the adoption and implementation of Law on Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and in close consultation with relevant agencies and organization.”. Reference to announcement of Royal Government and it strategy plan, NGO’s have reviewed and considered the proposed laws, and believe that their ability to work on important social issues will be significantly hampered. Human Rights NGO’s are seriously concerned that the government is intent on using the proposed NGO law to control and limit their rights and operations. They fear restriction of the human rights of free assembly and restricted freedom of expression – both rights are guaranteed in the Human Rights Declarations signed by the Cambodian Government as well as in the Cambodian Constitution.

However, NGOs are playing an important role for Cambodian society. They are working directly with people in remote areas to provide legal services, capacity building, and other important activities.  Royal Government of Cambodia recognized NGOs’ development role in Cambodia and also put its strategy to work with NGOs as a partnership. However, the relationship between Royal Government of Cambodia and Non Governmental Organization (particularly human rights NGOs) has not been good since 2008. Because of the stated fear that those NGOs could obtain funds or donations from terrorist groups during his term, the Prime Minister sought enactment of a draft NGO Law by the National Assembly in order to control or manage NGO activities. Currently, the draft is under consideration at the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On August 10, 2010, MoI issued a letter seeking funding for public consultations. 
Scope of Research
This limited research focuses on:
-         Analyzing the legal framework that covers NGO activities in USA and in Cambodia.
o       Regulation in the USA is complicated, and it may not be a suitable model for Cambodia to follow in its entirety. Therefore we cite only principles that represent good practice and are consistent with the Cambodia context.
o       The legal framework for Cambodia sectors: We focus on the existing legal norms in Cambodia, especially those provided in the constitution, international covenants, and other specifically applicable laws such as the civil and criminal code, anti-corruption law, and taxation law.  We also describe the transitional period in Cambodian practice that deals with registration, functioning, and dissolution of NGOs.

-         The draft NGO law should conform to international principles such as those contained in the ICCPR, ICESCR, and UN Declaration on the Rights to Development.

Please click here (Kh or English) to download the book.


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