TIB welcomes SAARC pledge to good governance, accountability and transparency. Concerned over silence on corruption; Calls for specific actions to follow-up
Dhaka, November 28, 2014.Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has welcomed the commitment made by leaders of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) “to ensure good governance for sustainable development by promoting accountability, transparency, the rule of law and people's participation at all levels of governance”.
TIB calls upon the Government of Bangladesh to take specific actions to genuinely promote accountable and transparency governance and hoped that the other SAARC governments will also follow up on this commitment.
The South Asian pledge to promote good governance was made by SAARC Heads of State or Government by their Kathmandu Declaration issued at the end of their 18th Summit held in Kathmandu, Nepal, during November 26-27, 2014. Paragraph 28 of the Declaration has “reiterated their strong commitment to ensure good governance for sustainable development by promoting accountability, transparency, the rule of law and people's participation at all levels of governance”.
In a statement issued today, executive director of TIB Iftekharuzzaman said, “We welcome the SAARC Declaration to ensure good governance for sustainable development by promoting accountability, transparency, the rule of law and people's participation at all levels of governance. However, since we have already heard and read many such commitments, we urge upon SAARC Governments, particularly our own again, to follow up with specific actions so as to upto the letter and spirit of such pledges”.
“We call upon the government to set examples that such pledges are no longer paper tigers. People of South Asia in general and Bangladesh in particular are desperate to see that the direct and indirect beneficiaries of deficits in governance, transparency, accountability and rule of law can no longer constitute the power-base of the government. Our political leaders must ensure that the governance and policy structures are not captured by those who benefit from corruption”, he said.
“It is surprising that while addressing the issues of good governance, transparency and accountability, the South Asian leaders have shied away in their Declaration from raising their voice against corruption. This denial syndrome reflects a deficit of moral authority. It is not only against their national commitments but also inconsistent with their international pledges at various levels and forums including the UN Conventional against Corruption. We call upon South Asian governments to have the courage and capacity to control corruption and criminalize corrupt practices without fear or favour, Iftekharuzzaman said.
It may be recalled that on November 5, 2014 in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh TIB urged upon her to take the lead to work together with her peers in SAARC to undertake regional cooperation initiatives to control corruption effectively. TIB’s submissions included specific action points for consideration of the SAARC Governments. A similar appeal jointly signed by executive directors of TI chapters in Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and Director of Asia-Pacific Department of TI Secretariat was made to other Heads of State or Government and the SAARC Secretariat. TIB also issued a statement with similar demands on 17 November.