World

Cambodia's lower house ignores critics and opposition boycott to approve controversial bill

  • Protesters sit on a main street with stickers that read: "Say No! Union, Association and NGO Laws" leading to the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, July 13, 2015. Lawmakers of the ruling Cambodian People's Party 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. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

    Protesters sit on a main street with stickers that read: "Say No! Union, Association and NGO Laws" leading to the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, July 13, 2015. Lawmakers of the ruling Cambodian People's Party 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. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)  (The Associated Press)

  • Protesters carrying "No" sign with stickers that read: "Say No! Union, Association and NGO Laws" march towards the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, July 13, 2015. Lawmakers of the ruling Cambodian People's Party 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. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

    Protesters carrying "No" sign with stickers that read: "Say No! Union, Association and NGO Laws" march towards the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, July 13, 2015. Lawmakers of the ruling Cambodian People's Party 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. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)  (The Associated Press)

  • Protesters carrying "No" signs march towards the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, July 13, 2015. Lawmakers of the ruling Cambodian People's Party 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. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

    Protesters carrying "No" signs march towards the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, July 13, 2015. Lawmakers of the ruling Cambodian People's Party 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. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)  (The Associated Press)

Cambodia's National Assembly has approved a controversial draft law that critics say gives authorities sweeping powers to crack down on civil society groups that challenge the government.

Protests took place both outside the National Assembly, where hundreds of demonstrators gathered Monday, and inside, where opposition party lawmakers boycotted the vote.

None of the 55 lawmakers from the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party's attended Monday's debate.

The 68 lawmakers from the ruling Cambodian People's party unanimously voted to adopt the bill, which still needs to clear the Senate before becoming law.

Human rights groups have widely opposed the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations. Amnesty International has called it "widely repressive." Human Rights Watch says it will "create an atmosphere of intimidation and self-censorship."