Press releases

Civil Society Calls On Senate to Reject LANGO

( 14-July-2015 / Licadho Cambodia )

Civil Society Calls On Senate to Reject LANGO July 14, 2015 - We, the undersigned civil society groups, condemn the Cambodian People’s Party’s unanimous approval yesterday of the repressive and unnecessary Law on Associations and Non-Government Organizations (LANGO) and call on the Senate to reject the law. The vote at yesterday’s extraordinary session of the National Assembly is a catastrophic development for civil society in Cambodia and is a major step in the government’s wider campaign to undermine democracy and restrict citizens’ rights and freedoms.

Cambodia: Approved NGO law poised to hobble the work of civil society Bangkok, Thailand --- The ICJ today condemned the approval by the Cambodian Peoples’ Party (CPP) of a law which aims to pose obstacles to and restrictions on the activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in order to be officially registered in the country. In June and July 2015, the ICJ and other international human rights groups sent joint letters to the Government of Cambodia, including to Prime Minister Hun Sen and the President of the National Assembly, urging for the withdrawal of the draft law. Today, the Cambodian National Assembly unanimously approved the draft Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (draft LANGO) promoted by the Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP) after 55 members of the opposition party, Cambodia National Rescue Party, decided to boycott the vote. All 68 members of the CPP, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, attended the plenary session of the National Assembly and voted in favor of the draft law.

CCHR Calls for the Unconditional Rejection of LANGO One day before the holding of the extraordinary session of the National Assembly, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights urges the National Assembly to firmly reject the draft Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (“LANGO”).

CCHR urges the National Assembly to ensure meaningful consultations on the LANGO before a vote The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (“CCHR”) urges once again the National Assembly to stop the rushed adoption process of the 5th draft Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (“LANGO”) and to ensure meaningful consultations with all relevant stakeholders before scheduling a vote meeting. According to the available information, the National Assembly is reportedly set to hold an extraordinary session on 10 July 2015 where the LANGO is to be discussed and is likely to be approved, despite none of the concerns expressed by civil society actors and other expert voices have been addressed or even given consideration.

CCHR welcomes the acquittal of a land activist in Koh Kong Province CCHR welcomes the acquittal of Ms. Phav Nhieng, a community representative of the Preaek Chik village, Chi Kha Kraom commune, Srae Ambel district, Koh Kong province, involved in a heated land conflict with the Heng Huy Agriculture Group Co Ltd. Ms. Phav Nhieng was accused of poisoning and killing two cows belonging to the group, and charged with intentionally causing damage under article 410 of Cambodian Criminal Code.

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNS PROPOSED RESTRICTIONS ON CIVIL SOCIETY IN CAMBODIA Transparency International strongly condemns a proposed law in Cambodia that has been criticised by domestic and international civil society organisations because it could greatly restrict the voice of the people. The Cambodian government is trying to quickly pass the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO) without properly consulting the public. Criticism is based on leaked drafts of the law as the government tried to keep the law’s contents secret until it was sent to the National Assembly. The proposed law is pernicious. It could be used to effectively stop the ability of NGOs to freely criticize government policies or public officials. It creates mandatory registration requirements for NGOs and gives the government the ability to disallow registration based on unclear criteria. The law also requires informal and grassroots organisations to register as NGOs or associations if they want to conduct activities, a real burden for them.

Cambodia: Government is intimidating civil society With regard to the draft Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO), Mr. Uwe Kekeritz, Member of the German Parliament and Spokesperson for Development Cooperation expressed his concerns as follows: The draft LANGO presented by the government fails to meet the minimum international human rights standards. According to the content of the draft, the government aims to silence local and international civil society organizations that have been actively supporting Cambodian people in their struggle against land grabbing and human rights violations.

CCHR condemns the conviction of Ly Sreakheng, Mak Seavhoung and Ly Seavminh to suspended 6 months in prison Yesterday, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court of First Instance found Ly Sreakheng, Mak Seavhuong and their daughter Ly Seavminh guilty of using violence against a possessor in good faith of immovable property under Article 253 of the 2001 Land Law, and sentenced them to suspended 6 months in prison while acquitting Ly Bunheang. The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (“CCHR”) condemns the convictions as grounded on insufficient evidence.

Mother Nature’s activists arrested in Phnom Penh while attempting to protest against sand dredging activities in Koh Kong Today at about 9am, Sorn Chandara, Dim Kundy and Chek Netra, three environmental activists of the network Mother Nature, were arrested while attempting to hold a peaceful demonstration in front of the National Assembly in Phnom Penh. Dit Sothy, a staff member of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) who was monitoring the situation, was also put under arrest. Between twenty and twenty-five people were expected to attend, but the police intervened before demonstrators could gather, so impeding the demonstration.

On Stony Ground: A Look into Social Land Concessions

( 24-June-2015 / Licadho Cambodia )

On Stony Ground: A Look into Social Land Concessions June 24, 2015 - State-involved land conflicts have been one of the largest causes of human rights abuses in Cambodia for over a decade. Many of these abuses arose from disputes involving Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) and other land concessions awarded to private companies. On the eve of this great Cambodian land giveaway, in March 2003, the Cambodian government unveiled a potentially progressive land policy with the aim of transferring land to landless and poor Cambodians – Social Land Concessions (SLCs).

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