Anti-corruption campaigners point to strong causal link between corruption and massive human rights abuses
The United Nations Security Council, as well as Burma’s neighbours, must increase pressure on the Burmese government to end massive human rights abuses and crack down on endemic corruption, said the global members of Transparency International (TI) in a statement issued at the leading anti-corruption organisation’s annual meeting in Indonesia.
In a strongly worded document, anti-corruption campaigners from over seventy countries expressed their outrage at the continued violent repression of civil society, endemic corruption and the systematic denial of basic rights, such as the right to free assembly – a right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“As corruption fighters we are of course appalled at the endemic corruption sapping the life blood of the Burmese people and perpetuating human rights abuses,” said Transparency International Chair, Huguette Labelle, “But as human beings, we are deeply and personally affected by the plight of the people of Burma, including the Burmese monks who were so brutally denied the right to peaceful protest.”
The statement also pointed to Burma’s last place in the 2007 TI Corruption Perceptions Index (179th place out of 180 countries and territories) as proof of the seriousness of the country’s corruption problem. But when it comes to the strong correlation between corruption and human rights abuses, Burma is not alone, many other countries, including Somalia, Iraq, Uzbekistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela exhibit astronomical levels of perceived corruption and serious human rights issues.
The statement called on the regional and global community to increase pressure on the regime as well as on the private sector to cease directly or indirectly supporting the Burmese military junta.
Transparency International is the civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.
Note to editors
See below the full text of the Transparency International Annual Membership Meeting 2007 Resolution on Burma (Myanmar):
The members of Transparency International, the world’s leading anti-corruption organisation, with representatives from over 70 countries, gathered today in Indonesia for their Annual Membership Meeting, express their outrage at the violent repression that peaceful protesters have been facing in Burma (Myanmar) against a backdrop of entrenched government corruption.
Burma (Myanmar) is another example of a country where, despite enormous natural wealth, the people have been trapped in poverty by systemic corruption. Burma (Myanmar) showed lowest of all the countries assessed in the TI 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index.
Corrupt governments do not respond to the basic needs of their citizens, nor do they respect their human rights, including the right to equal treatment before the law.
The fundamental factors that led to the current situation in Burma (Myanmar) illustrate the destructive link between systemic corruption and massive human rights abuses.
Transparency International therefore calls urgently on:
- The global community, the United Nations Security Council, ASEAN and its neighbours to increase the pressure on the government of Burma (Myanmar) to put an end to the massive human rights abuses in the country in general - and in particular to the repression of peaceful protesters and to the actual situation of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been democratically elected prime minister, but is deprived to participate in ruling the country for 18 years and has remained meanwhile under house arrest for 12 years by the military junta that rules the country.
- The global media to spare no effort to keep the spotlight on Burma(Myanmar).
- Foreign companies doing business directly or indirectly with Burma (Myanmar) in rubies, oil, gas, or other goods, to stop enriching Burmese officials or generally supporting the junta.
- The Government of Burma (Myanmar) to recognise the right of freedom of association to civil society groups, including Burmese monks, not just because they are fundamental agents of democratic reform, but because they are essential for re-establishing human rights, and for fighting corruption and impoverishment.
Bali, 28 October 2007
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