A leading rights advocate said Thursday the government should reconsider strict regulation of associations from the top down, as a way of mitigating some of the problems of centralized governance.
The Ministry of Interior is facing criticism from local and international rights groups over a proposed law to make stricter regulations on NGOs and associations.
Lao Monghay, a former researcher for the Asian Human Rights Commission, told “Hello VOA” that local groups should be able to form to tackle local difficulties.
“If more people are involved with civil society and associations, the society will be stronger, because people are able to take care of public work and solve the problems they are facing,” he said.
Look at monks at a temple, for example, he said. In remote areas, they are able to mobilize people to take on something like sanitation, or other public goods, without waiting for the government to resolve an issue.
And while government supporters of the draft law say it is necessary to regulate the thousands of NGOs already operating in the county, Lao Monghay said proper regulation can already take place if existing laws are properly enforced.
“In democratic countries, when they respect the laws and freedom…that means the laws are open,” he said. “They help facilitate and foster their people to participate and bind together as associations to do activities for the sake of the nation and society as a whole.”