Asian legislators support fight against graft

Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung | Thu, 12/10/2009 10:42 AM

Delegates attending the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) in Bandung, West Java, celebrated Wednesday the UN’s International Anti-Corruption Day.

Delegates agreed to three pillars against corruption: accountability, transparency and participation.

All countries attending the assembly have ratified the 2003 United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

The APA president, who is also the Indonesian House of Representatives speaker, Marzuki Alie, said the country’s willingness to ratify the convention showed its commitment to fighting corruption.

During the session, the delegates issued a joint declaration that corruption “will not only create static countries. It will even create significant deterioration in countries.”

Marzuki said corruption was an extraordinary crime that could damage national country. “We expect nations to no longer protect corrupt officials who have run away from their own countries,” he said.

He urged countries providing asylums to exiled foreign corrupt officials to deport them to their countries of origin.

Marzuki spoke on behalf of 41 lawmakers and 16 observers from Indonesia. He said every country had to increase efforts to eradicate corruption to bring prosperity to their own people.

He emphasized good governance on public information access as a means of combating institutionalized corruption. This way, he added, those fighting corruption would not be marginalized.

The head of the Indonesian parliamentary delegation, Sidarto Danusubroto, told the assembly the countries needed concrete action to fight corruption.

“This assembly has to set a common strategy to be implemented in our respective countries,” he said. “Concrete action is the greatest challenge in combating corruption.”

In other APA developments, delegates from five Asian countries proposed the establishment of the Women’s Asia Parliamentary Assembly.

Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, an Indonesian delegate, said of the 26 member countries attending the assembly, only five had women delegates.

She said these countries were Bangladesh, Cambodia, Singapore, South Korea and Indonesia. “We are lobbying other delegates to approve this proposal on Thursday,” she said on the sidelines of the session.

She said the women’s assembly had to be formed because the number of women was increasing in parliaments in many countries.

“This formation is aimed at achieving gender equality in parliaments in many countries,” she added. The assembly has also been working towards a resolution for Palestine.

Marzuki said the assembly would approve the resolution, which said Israel had committed human rights abuses and war crimes.

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