Rights groups fear charity crackdown in Cambodia

AFP – Leading human rights groups urged the Cambodian government on Thursday to drop a controversial draft law they fear is aimed at restricting the activities of campaigners and charity workers. The proposed law, which is in the final stages of review, “should be abandoned because it will undermine rather than promote civil society”, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and six other groups said in a joint statement. The draft law threatens the right to freedom of association and could serve to “silence civil society criticism”, they said, because it would allow the government to refuse registration or close down non-governmental organisations (NGOs) without offering a right to appeal. “The Cambodian government has failed to provide an adequate answer as to why this new law is needed alongside other existing laws and regulations that govern civil society,” the statement read. The organisations called for international donors to take a stand. Read Article

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