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NGO Law To Go Forward: Hun Sen

Prime Minister Hun Sen has said Cambodia must go ahead with its law governing non-governmental agencies, lest the country become a haven for terrorism and human trafficking.

Speaking before a gathering of NGO officials in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen downplayed concerns the law would be used to restrict the work of rights groups and other organizations.

“We will not limit the freedoms of the non-governmental organizations, and we will not take funding from those organizations,” he said.

In 2003, Cambodia was forced to close a local organization found to be funneling money for Islamic extremism and abetting an alleged plot to attack Western embassies in Phnom Penh.

Proponents of a law to enforce NGO funding have said it can prevent that from happening again, but critics of the proposed law worry it could be used to crack down on organizations the government sees as overly critical of its practices.