Asia Pacific governments fall short in fight against corruption
Urgent action for whistleblower protection and safety of campaigners needed
The leaders of 24 Transparency International chapters based in the Asia Pacific region express serious concern regarding persistent corruption and call on governments in the region to strengthen their commitment to transparency and accountability, as well as step up their anti-corruption measures.
Transparency International recommends that all Asia Pacific governments, particularly China, prioritise amendments to the penal code to align it with the United Nations Convention against Corruption requirement and ensure access to information for citizens. Transparency International also calls on Chinese authorities to tackle corruption in the public sector by imposing a compulsory and comprehensive asset declaration law for all public servants in China.
“Transparency International welcomes President Xi Jinping’s commitment to fight corruption in China,” said Srirak Plipat, Regional Director for Asia Pacific during a meeting of leaders from 24 Asia Pacific Transparency International chapters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. “We call on the President to realise those commitments so that the people of China are able to benefit from the country’s rapid economic development.”
Transparency International recognises the recent political and economic reforms of the Myanmar government, including the recent ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. However the government must prioritise the establishment of effective anti-corruption laws and regulations as well as recognise the cooperation of the international community and civil society organisations. Transparency International also emphasises that the anti-corruption authority must be independent and consistent with the principle of checks and balances.
Concerns are also expressed over continued corruption in Afghanistan and lack of progress in countering the corrosive problem. Transparency International calls on the government to demonstrate political will by establishing effective legislation and strengthened institutions – and for civil society to have the remit to contribute. Donors are also recommended to ensure that current monitoring systems and benchmarks in place are realised.
Transparency International emphasises the need for intergovernmental institutions in the region to fight corruption by incorporating an anti-corruption agenda into their commitments. Therefore Transparency International calls on member states of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to prioritise a coordination mechanism between member countries to improve regional cooperation in addressing corruption challenges.
Anti-corruption campaigners and journalists continue to be harassed and intimidated in Asia Pacific, particularly in India, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu. Transparency International calls on the governments in the region to ensure the safety of these individuals as well as for the enactment and enforcement of legislation on the right to information and whistleblower protection.
Transparency International welcomes the Royal Government of Cambodia’s commitment to address corruption by including it in their national development strategy. However Transparency International also calls for its prioritisation and effective implementation.
Note to editors:
Each year Transparency International chapters from the Asia Pacific region meet to discuss emerging corruption challenges and solutions to advance the transparency and accountability agenda. This year’s annual meeting is organised in Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Transparency International Cambodia.
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Kol Preap, Executive Director of Transparency International Cambodia
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