Joint Statement on the Law on Associations and NGOs of Cambodia

Kingdom of Cambodia

Nation Religion King

Joint Statement

We, members of the associations, networks and communities in the Kingdom of Cambodia, have closely examined and widely discussed the recently released fourth draft of the Law on Associations and NGOs. We understand that this law was created with an intention to control rather than to promote and strengthen civil society, and as such it undermines the rights of the people and shrinks democratic space in Cambodia.

We note that the fourth draft law places severe burdensome onall civil society organizations, from grassroots associations to international NGOs. If it is enacted, the draft law will be as a toolhalt the activities of organizations working to promote and protect human rights and democracy in Cambodia.

Theseburdens and restrictionson freedom of association on local organizationsinclude:

  • communities should beprohibited from conducting activities outside their specific localities;

  • increasing restrictions on the rights of the communities to freely join networks and associations

  • registration remains mandatory for local organizations and associations

  • state institutions can arbitrarilydecide whether or not to register an association or NGOs who seek status as a legal entity

  • associations wishing to redistribute profits within communities are not eligible for registration

  • registration requirements for associations and organizationsremains burdensome

  • organizations and associations are not legally recognized if it is not officially registered

  • excessive powers are given to government officials from the unelected executive branch;

  • inappropriate restrictions on internationalNGOs;

  • lack of administrative appeal procedures, with the law requiring that appeals be filed with the courts;

  • restrictionsare put on the financial affairs of organizations and associations;

  • no penalty is specified for government officials who use their power to abuse the right to freedom of association and

  • communities have no rights to collectively negotiate.

In the substance of this draft law, we understand that it is contradictory to the freedom to establish associations as set forth in national and international laws. Those include

  • The Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia

  • The United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights

  • ILO Convention 87

  • The Civil Code of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

We communities, associations and networks are extremely concerned about the fourth draft of the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations. The Ministry of Interior has conducted a ‘consultation’ on the Law within a limited timeframeand with a limited number of participants.

We do not accept the government’s fourth draft of the Law on Associations and NGOs. We strongly believe that the Royal Government of Cambodia should notadopt this draft law, which aimsto control civil society, and should instead implement the existing law addressing associations and NGOs. Part of the role of civil society is to defend the rights and the legitimate interests of the Cambodian people;in particular, to promote democracy and to improve livelihoods.

Dated 19 December 2011

For further information please contact:
Mr. Heng Sam Orn

Names of Associations and Networks who endorse the statement



Contact Person


Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA) Mr. Phoeng something 012 925 062


Community Peace-build Network (CPN) Ms. Mom Sakin 089 942 159


Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community (CCFC) Mr. ThengSavoeun 078 225 088


Cambodian Youth Network (CYN) Mr. Tim Malay 017 990 689


Cambodia’s Independence Civil-Servants Association (CICA) Mr. Loch Chanthorn012 556 401


Farmer and Nature Network (FNN) Mr. Chea Sopheak 016 440 495


Community Network Action (CNA) Mr. Sam Chheng 077 635 967


Oral Network (ON) Ms. Phav Nhoeng017 913 012


Phnom Kouk Network (PKN) Ms. Yin Pech 012 341 757


Coastal Fishery Network (CFN) Mr. Lor Chhean 012 248 635


Prey Lang Network (PLN) Ms. Vong Phan 077 885 336


Farmers Association for Peace and Development (FAPD) Mr. Prach Bunthoeun 016 651 413


Indigenous Right Active Member​ (IRAM) Mr. Um Mech 017 743 625


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