Protesters march with a banner that reads: "Say No! Union, Association and NGO Laws" towards the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, July 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
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Cambodia's ruling party lawmakers approved a controversial draft law Monday that critics say gives authorities sweeping powers to crack down on civil society groups that challenge the government.The Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations tightly regulates all non-governmental organizations in the country and grants the government sweeping powers to clamp down on civil society activities it deems to be a threat to national security.All 68 lawmakers from the ruling Cambodian People's Party voted unanimously to adopt the bill, an expected outcome in the 123-seat lower house, where a simple majority was enough for the vote to pass.The European Parliament adopted a resolution last week calling on the Cambodian government to withdraw the vote, warning that $700 million in development aid could hang in the balance, and Amnesty International has condemned the law as repressive.
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