Anti-Corruption Day Observed In Vanuatu

THE VANUATU GOVERNMENT in partnership with Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) hosted this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day down at the Port Vila Seafront.

International Anti Corruption Day is held every year as an opportunity for the community to rally support of the work being undertaken to combat corruption in all its forms. The event was scheduled to be held on the 9th of December 2015, but was postponed to this year.

Programs of that day included a public parade against corruption from Chantilly’s to the Seafront space next to the Port Vila Market House. The VMF Brass band led the parade followed by government leaders, NGO’s and members of the public.

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At the Seafront there were a few speeches, awareness programs, and drama performances 17by the Rainbow Disability Theater Group who created and performed the widely showcased drama – Pikinini Blong Seaview.

And to conclude the half day program Stan & the Earth Force soothingly closed of the activities with some of their hard hitting songs about the reality of life in Vanuatu.

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At a quarter past nine the Honorable Prime Minister Charlot Salwai gave his speech, in his speech he emphasized his government’s commitment towards fighting corruption in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu, as a member state of the UN, is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2011. Therefore it is by obligation that Vanuatu must have in place mechanisms that implement and enforce this UNCAC.

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A statement from the Ministry of Justice earlier that week explained that Vanuatu “has 12been working to strengthen the institutions and laws needed to address corruption. A 2013 review of Vanuatu’s progress to implement UNCAC found that some significant progress has been made, acknowledging work particularly in the areas of ant-money laundering, international cooperation and initiative in Correction Services.”

And because Vanuatu acceded to the UNCAC therefore it is important to have an Anti-Corruption Day so that government and civil society leaders can prioritize that day as a time to report back to the whole country on what they have done specifically in the areas of anti-corruption.

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Those who also provided statements on anti-corruption today were the Director General for the Ministry of Justice Mark Bebe, the Ombudsman Kalkot Mataskelekele, and Transparency International Vanuatu Board Secretary Mr Joe Kalo.

The Ministry of Justice and the Office the Prime Minister were the main offices behind the observation of anti-corruption days, and Transparency International Vanuatu, as a civil society organization has been privileged to have worked in collaboration with the said offices during the past weeks and months towards the event.

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The theme for this years celebration of the Anti Corruption Day in Vanuatu was “Fight Corruption. Use the Right Information. Enough Hearsay.”

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A media release from the Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MOJCS) this week elaborated more on the reasons behind hosting the Anti-Corruption Day.

The statement says that the theme reflects a key strategy “which the government is implementing to lead a more open and transparent administration”.

The statement also recognized Transparency International Vanuatu’s assistance towards the raising public awareness on the Right To Information (RTI) Bill. The statement from the MOJCS further explained that the theme for anti-corruption day was developed earlier this year, and Transparency International Vanuatu has been using it to conduct awareness programs on the Right to Information (RTI) Bill around the islands of Vanuatu.

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Right To Information (RTI) is a Bill that is still in the drafting process yet to be passed in 10parliament which will give free access to the right information needed in this country.

The statement explained that in 2014 “the Government launched the Right To information (RTI) Policy which when fully implemented will mean that each agency will publish information on its organization, policies, activities and expenditure.

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RTI will also mean that any person will be entitled to ask for any information held by the Government, and the Government will be required to provide that information, with limited exemptions to protect such things as personal privacy, national security, health and safety and legal privilege. An RTI Unit to oversee implementation of RTI has been established within the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer.”

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“The Ministry of Justice and Community Services is leading a review of the Ombudsman 5and Leadership Code Acts to make sure that the laws reflect community standard and are strong enough to fight corruption in our public institutions. Other work to combat corruption in the private and not government sectors has also occurring.”

Over the years advocacies after advocacies have been implemented to combat corruption at all levels of society, yet no law has been tabled in Parliament that would evidently fight corruption effectively across all levels. It is about time now that Vanuatu move forward to enforce in such laws, and the Right To information is one of them.

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During Transparency International Vanuatu community awareness programs on the RTI around Vanuatu a hundred percent of the people that were talked to wanted the RTI Bill to be passed and to become law, and though some people were careful on their opinions they eventually expressed support to have such a law place.

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It was during the RTI Toksave on Malekula when a Chief from the North West emphasized13
that “this is God’s plan, everything comes in a timely manner. This RTI Bill must become law. With human nature and Gods divine power anything is possible.”

It was also during another RTI Toksave on West Ambae when an elder from Vilakala village shed tears of joy. After listening to the RTI awareness the elder expressed that “Vanuatu will be free at last.”

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He explained that “when I heard of the Right to Information Bill, I knew that Vanuatu will be free at last because despite our independence we are still not free yet, because the information that we want is not readily available to us citizens.”

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The right to information originates as a national fundamental right, and is expressed in 23
Vanuatu’s National Constitution under article five.

At the moment there is no RTI Law that will give legal effect to this fundamental right however preparations have already been made and an RTI policy was launched in 2014, and until it becomes law TIV will continue to advocate for the RTI in Vanuatu.

The RTI is important because it is a symbol of an open democracy and a key to governance. The RTI promotes transparency and accountability in the public sector. It supports and protects human rights and it strengthens the foundations of democracy, and most importantly it fights against corruption.

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Thus the theme – Fight Corruption. Use The Right Information. Enough Hearsay. In Bislama it translates as “Faetem Korapsen. Yusum Raet Infomeisen. Inaf Blong Harem Se.”

As Transparency International Vanuatu continues to face further cuts on organizational funding we would like to continue to encourage us to be strong against corruption, corruption is everyone’s business. We have witnessed first-hand tears of hopelessness that were shed because of corruption, expressionless faces with eyes filled with pain. But we have also seen tears of joy, faces filled with energy and eyes filled with hope because corruption was defeated and removed as a parasite, an unwanted obstacle, towards achieving better living standards, a better future, and fair justice.

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For more information relating to any topics in our work please do contact us at transparency@vanuatu.com.vu or you call us at: 25715.

 

 

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On UN Anti-Corruption Day, Transparency International Vanuatu Calls For Greater Government Action To Fight Corruption

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL VANUATU is taking the opportunity of UN Anti-Corruption Day tomorrow to call on the government to make strong commitments to fighting corruption to enhance political integrity.

“Vanuatu is facing a crisis of political integrity. Fragmentation of political parties, ongoing instability in government and serious deficiency in the electoral system are openly acknowledged by everyone in government, the opposition and the public. This situation needs to be address as a matter of urgency,” said Dr. Willie Tokon, chair of TI-Vanuatu*.

Transparency International Vanuatu believes that in order to enhance political integrity, the government must first establish a national integrity committee made up of both non-governmental and government representatives.

This committee should help:

  1. Develop laws to regulate political parties and independent candidates for election, and in particularly party finances and campaign finances.
  2. Implement an accurate electoral roll and voting system, which is not subject to abuse
  3. Revise the Standing Orders of Parliament, regulation of members’ allocations and rules about the use of motions of no confidence
  4. Revise the Ombudsman Act and Leadership Code Act to expand the Ombudsman’s powers and ensure that there are consequences for breaches of the Leadership Code
  5. Enact the Right to Information Bill and revise the Government Act to ensure of Transparency of the executive.

All of these changes should be made in a transparent and consultative manner in order to build awareness of the roles, responsibilities and good practice of both the government and the citizen within a democracy. This will help bring about both a public and political will for change.

This is particularly important as some of these changes may require amendments to the Constitution that will need to be supported by a public referendum.

Transparency Vanuatu is contributing to this by holding workshops on voter education awareness, anti-corruption awareness among young people and awareness on the importance of a Right to Information law. It is also providing free legal clinics through its Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre.

Even though the anti-corruption day activities in Vanuatu have been postponed (as per press statement from the Office the Prime Minister), yesterday 8 December Transparency International Vanuatu held a presentation reception at the Moorings attended by the media, government officials, politicians, CSO representatives, Board members of TIV and friends.

Dr. Wille Tokon giving his speech

Invited guests at the presentation reception to mark the Anti-Corruption Day

Legal Officer presenting the work of ALAC in Vanuatu

Dr. Wille Tokon

Editor’s note:

Download Click here to download a full copy of Dr. Willie Tokon’s speech.

Links to other articles on this issue:

  1. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/291664/vanuatu-integrity-crisis-gravely-concerning
  2. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-09/transparency-vanuatu-demands-urgent-action-to/7014958
  3. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201782022/plans-to-appeal-ban-on-vanuatu-politicians

 

 

Anti-Corruption Day To Be Observed In Vanuatu

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL VANUATU (TIV) and the Office of the Prime Minister will be hosting the international anti-corruption day in Port Vila on Wednesday December 9th 2015.

December 9th is the annual international anti corruption day set by the United Nations Conventions against Corruption since 2003. Transparency International Vanuatu has been observing this day every year.

This year we will be observing this day at the Ifira Trustee Green Space beside the Market House in town with the theme, Fight Corruption. Use the right Information. Enough Hearsay”. The theme falls in with the work being done on the Right to Information in Vanuatu.

Once the Right to Information becomes a law it will be symbol for an open society, a key to good governance, and it will strengthen the foundations of democracy in Vanuatu. It will also empower citizens to be a part of decision making and promote accountability and transparency in public offices. And most importantly it will boost up the fight against corruption by supporting and protecting the rights of citizens.

The Anti corruption Day event will begin with a parade led by the VMF band from Moorings to the Ifira Trustees Green Space beside the market. During the day there will be speeches from the care taker Prime Minister, representatives of stakeholders and the Ombudsman.

AC Day

There will also be drama performances by the Rainbow Disability Theatre group, and live music performances by DROPVKAL and other bands. Furthermore, there will be several other activities that will happen throughout the day including corruption quizzes, discussions and the launching of a corruption film by Transparency International Vanuatu in collaboration with Natongtong Theater.

Transparency International Vanuatu will also be using the event to advocate on what is corruption and its effects in Vanuatu. The recently established Right To Information Unit, which is under the Prime Minister’s Office, will also be giving out information on the Right to Information bill which is under review.

Furthermore, there will also be representatives from the Regional Rights Resource team present during that day to give awareness on human rights.

The anti-corruption day event will be an informative and exciting day with a lot of useful information and ideas to be displayed, presented and discussed on throughout the day. TIV is inviting the public to come and be a part of that day. Learn more about RTI, corruption and how it affects us. Give yourself the opportunity to discuss with other people.

Every Year Transparency Vanuatu celebrates this day to campaign against corruption in Vanuatu and to remind us to say no to corruption.

In 2013, Transparency Vanuatu successfully hosted the anti corruption day at the Freswota park with the theme “Zero corruption, 100% development”.

 

 

 

 

Join Us On Anti-Corruption Day 2015

THE 9TH OF DECEMBER is the International Anti-Corruption day is inviting you to come and be a part of that day. Learn more about corruption and how it affects us, give yourself the opportunity to discuss with other people.

This year Transparency International Vanuatu and the Office of the Prime Minister are co-hosting the International Anti-Corruption Day in Vanuatu. The event will take place at the Ifira Trustee Green Space beside the market house in town.

More details about the event will be published soon.

Lukim Yu!!!!

AC Day