Bangladesh: CCC-YES Convention 2009-10
The annual convention of the twin forum of anti-corruption activists formed at the initiative of TI-Bangladesh
The annual convention of the Committee of the Concerned Citizens (CCC) and Youth Engagement and Support (YES), the twin forum of anti-corruption activists formed at the initiative of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), was held on 10 October 2009 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, Dhaka.
More than two thousand delegates representing 36 CCC areas out of Dhaka and 52 YES groups, including 16 YES groups from Dhaka, participated in this Convention.
A panel discussion on ‘Anti-corruption movement: citizens’ engagement; youth’s vibrancy’ was also held in the inaugural session. Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed, Secretary General of the TIB Board of Trustees and Advocate Sultana Kamal Treasurer of the Board took part in the panel. They stressed the link between corruption and violation of human rights in such vital areas as education, health and justice. They emphasized the importance of the promotion of rule of law as a prerequisite for good governance and for effectively fighting corruption.
Chairman of TIB Board of Trustees, and former adviser to the caretaker government M Hafizuddin Khan, inaugurated the Convention. Former chairman of TIB Board, Prof Mozaffer Ahmad also spoke.
Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of TIB delivered the welcome address and conducted the Convention in which nearly one hundred delegates spoke. Dr. Zaman reviewed the achievements, experiences and lessons of CCC-YES activists throughout the past year. He told the Convention that the CCC became the key pillars and the YES the key movers of TIB's social movement against corruption. As a result credit for TIB's achievements especially the institutional and policy reforms at the national level as well as positive changes catalyzed at the service delivery level in such vital sectors as health and education were due to the CCC-YES activists. But there was a long way to go to be able to effectively control corruption, which was not going to be easy, nor without risks. He called upon all concerned to redouble their efforts to rally against corruption with higher levels of courage, integrity, transparency and commitment.
In a video message Dr. Huguette Labelle, Chair, Transparency International termed young people as not only ‘our future’, but also as ‘our present’. She noted YES young people are already making a difference in Bangladesh and congratulated TIB for spearheading a movement of the people, by the people, with the people and of the people. She also told the Convention many of the creative work done by TI-Bangladesh inspired the movement worldwide and the Secretariat in Berlin.
The Convention adopted a Declaration reiterating the commitment of the CCC-YES movement to intensify their corruption prevention campaign.
The participants called upon the Government of Bangladesh to work with full commitment towards meeting their election pledge to make the parliament affective. They also demanded that the opposition parties in the parliament should abandon the politics of boycott, return to the parliament and work jointly towards making this key institution of democracy effective.
The Convention called upon the Government to allow the Anti-corruption Commission independently and effectively. Commending the Government for enacting the Right to Information Act, the Convention urged upn all stakeholders, particularly the Government, the newly-set up Information Commission, the public officials, NGOs, civil society, private sector and the media to play their due role in implementing the Act which could go a long way in fighting corruption in Bangladesh. The Information Commission must be sufficiently empowered and resourced, the Declaration said.
The Convention was concerned that the Government was retreating from its electoral commitment to empower the local government, and urged upon the Government to refrain from any measures that would prevent free, fair and transparent elections to the local government bodies.
The CCC-YES activists demanded fulfillment of the Government's electoral pledge to ensure independence and integrity of such vital institutions as the judiciary, public service and law enforcement agencies, particularly the police, failing which the prospect of democracy, good governance and anti-corruption will be a pipe-dream.
The Convention called upon the authority to control the illegal activities of the private sector, especially the business syndicates that control the market through corrupt practices and prevent competitive market system to develop and lead to unbearable level price rise of essential commodities.
The Convention demanded full transparency and disclosure of terms of bilateral and international agreement reached by the Government, especially on matters of public interest in the field of use of the countries natural and economic resources. The participants called upon the parliament to hold open discussion on such vital matters of national interest, and engage the citizens at large in vital decision-making like these, especially leading members of the civil society, NGOs and relevant experts. The culture of secrecy on these matters will be self-defeating for national interest, the Convention alerted.
The participants called upon the Government to ensure the land rights of the indigenous communities in both hilly and plain regions, according constitutional recognition of their rights, as well as those of the other disadvantaged sections of the society, particularly the persons with disabilities and special needs.
The Convention stressed that fighting corruption and fighting human rights violations are closely liked with each other. Participants called upon the Government to build capacity, independence and effectiveness of the Human Rights Commission. They also demanded that those guilty of all sorts of human rights violations including the war criminals and extra-judicial killings must be brought to justice without delay and without fear or favour.
The Convention also demanded full transparency in all stages and process of public procurement at both national and local levels. Failure of the Government to control the growing trend of politicization and abuse of power in the tendering process will be self-defeating for the Government, the Declaration said.
The Convention was concerned that the media professionals were increasingly coming under threat of intimidation and insecurity from people in positions power in the course of discharge of heir professional duty. Participants called upon the Government to take immediate steps to arrest this trend and allow the law take its own course.
The Convention urged upon all stakeholders particularly the Government, the political authority to demonstrate the political will against corruption. Participants called upon the private sector, NGOs, media and the citizens at large to do everything possible in their capacity to strengthen the voice and demand against corruption in Bangladesh.
A YES webpage was also launched at the Convention which was rounded off with a colorful musical programme, coupled with a dazzling laser show on glorious history of Bangladesh’s independence. The underlying spirit of Bangladesh's independence, especially establishing democracy, justice, human rights, democratic institutionalization, and promoting good governance by effectively controlling corruption were actively mainstreamed in the proceedings.