Civil society organizations in Cambodia can be categorized into a few main groups, such as the traditional associations, modern community-based organizations, non-government organizations, trade unions, youth organizations, and other categories.
The CSOs in Cambodia have long been involved as election observers and advocates. After the 2013 elections, the CSOs tried to propose electoral reforms, which may improve the quality of the electoral process. In addition to advocacy for electoral reform, CSOs could play an essential role in promoting and advocating for deepening democracy through constitutional reform. They can include the voice of ordinary people from across the country, apart from discussions only between the parties. After this 2013 elections, a civil society umbrella organization, the Electoral Reform Alliance (ERA), also released a comprehensive report on widespread irregularities during the poll.
As in Cambodia, 70% of its population is under 30 years of age. Youth organization plays an important role in addressing particular concern issues to young people and building young people’s capacity to contribute to social development. They are involved in social development issues, volunteerism, youth participation in political and democratic processes, networking, and advocacy.
Currently, the CSOs are being restricted by the NGO law introduced and applied to curtail freedoms and groups’ rights to assemble and protest.
Tim Meisburger, Electoral Reform and the Consolidation of Democracy in Cambodia, The Asia Foundation.
Chak Sopheap, Standing with Civil Society in Cambodia, The Phnom Penh Post, May 11 2016, http://www.phnompenhpost.com/analysis-and-op-ed/standing-civil-society-cambodia.
Colin Meyn, Civil Society Organizations to Push for Electoral Overhaul, The Cambodia Daily, Oct 29 2013, https://www.cambodiadaily.com/archives/civil-society-organizations-to-push-for-electoral-overhaul-46140/.
Carmen Malena and Kristina Chhim, Linking Citizens and the State: An Assessment of Civil Society Contributions to Good Governance in Cambodia, World Bank, Feb 2009, http://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/398781468222011480/pdf/491470WP0Box331BLIC10CCSA1Eng1Final.pdf.
PDF : Political and Electoral Reform in Cambodia (Cambodian Center for Human Rights: 2013)
PDF : Strengthening Electoral Processes and Democratic Practices in Cambodia: Report on Forums on Elections and Democratic Space (CCHR: 2010)
PDF : Statement: Challenges of implementing decentralization in Cambodia during the 2013 election campaign (WGPD: 2013)
PDF : Activity Report: Promoting Women’s Participation In Decision Making (CPWP, CILAKA: 2007)
PDF : UNDP and Electoral Assistance: Ten Years of Experience (UNDP: 2002)
Link : Cambodian NGOs Reveal Poll Fraud Report (Radio Free Asia: Nov 27, 2013) – Three nongovernmental organizations in Cambodia jointly released reports detailing irregularities from disputed recent polls, saying they demonstrated a “need for real reform” of the national electoral body before the country could hold free and fair elections.