Law on Associations & NGOs
Below are statements and legal analyses on the draft Law on Associations and NGOs - considered by many to be the most significant current threat to Cambodian civil society and non-governmental groups.Statement CSOs call upon authorities to immediately cease harassment of human rights defenders
April 29, 2016
We, the undersigned civil society organisations, strongly condemn the summonsing and interrogation of civil society members for conducting vital and legitimate activities to protect human rights. This amounts to an outrageous misuse of the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) as a political tool to attack and intimidate civil society.
December 17, 2015
To celebrate International Human Rights Day (IHRD), about 10,000 people from rural and urban communities participated in 20 marches and events across the country from December 6 to December 10. These were organized by the informal network Friends of December 10th, which includes youth, land communities, associations, farmers, monks, and NGOs. On December 10, groups peacefully marched from various locations in Phnom Penh toward the Ministry of Justice to demand that the government resolve Cambodia’s land conflict epidemic; reform the judicial system and release human rights defenders and activists; raise the minimum wage and respect labour rights; end state-sponsored violence; and respect freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly. This year’s IHRD theme was ‘Justice’.
August 12, 2015 Today, a full session of the Constitutional Council declared the draft Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO) constitutional in both its content and the process of its drafting and approval.
The LANGO was passed by the National Assembly on July 13 and by the Senate on July 24 amid widespread national and international criticism. It is now due to go before the King for final approval.
July 30, 2015
As the Constitutional Council of Cambodia prepares to review the legality of the Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO), ADHOC and LICADHO call on the Council to reject the law on the basis of numerous provisions that violate Cambodian citizens’ constitutional rights and freedoms.
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.
July 7, 2015
Amid mounting national and international criticism of the proposed Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO), the ruling party has expedited the schedule to pass LANGO into law by calling an extraordinary session of the National Assembly on Friday July 10th. Join LICADHO for live coverage of the main events in the last 72 hours before the vote.
July 4, 2015
The CPP, Cambodia’s ruling party, has announced its intention to hold an extraordinary session of the National Assembly on July 10th, during which members of parliament will vote on whether to pass the Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO). For the past three months Cambodian civil society has been voicing its opposition to the law and between June 28 and 30, numerous grassroots groups, networks and NGOs conducted a spirited 3-day campaign to protest against the LANGO and also the draft Trade Union Law. Both laws have been widely criticised in Cambodia and abroad for the threat they represent to Cambodian civil society. This music video shows some of the campaign events at which activists and civil society members sang and danced to a classic Cambodian pop song “I Don’t Accept It”. The lyrics were specially rewritten by Cambodian youths and Boeung Kak activists to express their rejection of the laws and to assert their right to gather and express themselves freely.
July 2, 2015
From June 28-30, various sectors of Cambodian civil society conducted a spirited 3-day campaign to protest against two draft laws, the Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO) and the Trade Union Law (TUL). On the third day, authorities used force to prevent hundreds of members of civil society from peacefully marching toward the National Assembly from four locations.
June 29, 2015
At 8 o’clock tomorrow morning, in protest against two draft laws, the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO) and the Trade Union Law (TUL), hundreds of marchers will make their way towards the National Assembly from four locations in Phnom Penh. Both laws have been widely criticised in Cambodia and abroad for the threat they represent to Cambodian civil society. LICADHO will be livestreaming events from each of the marches throughout the morning.
June 25, 2015
After much public discussion, and following your article, “CPP Lawmakers Press Ahead with NGO Law” (Cambodia Daily dated 24 June, 2015), LICADHO wishes to address a general misunderstanding of the draft Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO).
LANGO is not a simply an “NGO law” impacting a few hundred NGOs. The law’s mandatory registration provisions apply to any group of people who join together to pursue any common cause, no matter their purpose or level of organization. Given the political context in Cambodia, we view this as a concerted effort to stop grassroots and community based organizations in their tracks. No registration, no community based organizations, no voices.
June 17, 2015
The draft Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO) obtained in June 2015 will establish mandatory registration for all domestic and international associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), criminalizing all activities by unregistered membership organizations. The requirement to register appears all encompassing and could be interpreted to apply to all organizations from grassroots groups and community based organisations up to major international organizations. Mandatory registration could have a particularly severe impact on the freedom of association of grassroots groups and community based organizations.
This memo is a specific breakdown of the key provisions within the approved draft law that have worsened since the December 2011 draft, and the potential impacts on groups operating in Cambodia.
May 11, 2015
The Cambodian government must withdraw the proposed Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO) and make the legislative drafting process in the country transparent, FIDH and its member organizations, the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), said today.
May 5, 2015
On the morning of May 1, 2015, in celebration of International Labour Day, marches and rallies were held at three sites around Phnom Penh to request a living wage of $177, greater respect for workers’ rights and freedom of expression, and for the government to drop draft legislation on unions, associations and non governmental organizations (NGOs).
December 22, 2011
Donors, who provide approximately half of Cambodia's national budget, should make clear to the Cambodian government that the fourth draft of the Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO) must be revised to protect civil society or be withdrawn, a group of concerned international human rights organizations said today. Any revisions should involve meaningful consultation with civil society organizations and aim to support their activities instead of creating a legal framework allowing for arbitrary closure of organizations or the denial of registration.
December 15, 2011
On Dec. 12, 2011, the Royal Cambodian Government released the fourth draft of its proposed Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO). The release comes almost exactly one year after the first draft was introduced in mid-December 2010.
The contents of the three earlier drafts provoked extensive criticism from local and international civil society organizations, donor governments, and legal analysts. Twice previously the government has acknowledged these criticisms and promised to come up with a better draft. Twice previously they have failed.
With the fourth draft, they have failed again.