Subject: TI: East Timor: The forgotten state

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL The global coalition against corruption

24 August 2003

MEDIA RELEASE TI Pacific Regional Conference

East Timor: The forgotten state

Delegates representing six Pacific nations attending the regional meeting of corruption watchdog Transparency International in Brisbane at the weekend were stunned by revelations from an East Timorese observer who described the crisis in East Timor following the initial euphoria of Independence.

Mr. Nelson Belo said; "Corruption in my country has affected health, education and justice, three areas where Timorese Nationals are experiencing complete breakdown despite intensive efforts at rebuilding East Timor after years of civil war and Indonesian rule."

"The ruling elite have marginalized East Timorese youth who are effectively forced out of the development process through language discrimination and physical and mental intimidation," he added.

Mr Belo reported that rural services were virtually non-existent: "Outside of Dili there is an unacceptably high infant mortality rate as there are no medical facilities.

"The sick and elderly are left to die in their homes as there is no medicine or medical advice."

Aid agencies are unable to deliver much-needed goods and services and there is a lack of awareness outside East Timor about the difficulties experienced by the Timorese. Mr Belo said that the East Timorese feel they have been forgotten by the international community who have "moved on to more important countries" such as the Solomon Islands or Iraq.

Mr Belo's report generated a groundswell of consensus for a more collaborative approach amongst Pacific nations to intensify their efforts against corruption.

A copy of the the Kooralbyn Declaration drafted immediately after the conference is attached.

For further information, contact Dr Barbara-Ann Butler, Director of Public Affairs, Transparency International Australia on (07) 3374 1151 or 0412 494 634 or CEO TI Australia Grahame Leonard, 0411 462 242

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24 August 2003

MEDIA RELEASE TI Pacific Regional Conference

TI Pacific Chapters call for action against corruption.

Pacific Chapters of global corruption watchdog Transparency International during its regional meeting in Queensland over the weekend pledged to intensify their efforts to reduce corruption in the region. Delegates representing 6 Pacific nations voted unanimously to share intelligence, strategy and tactics to strengthen island communities in their fight against political corruption and maladministration.

Chairman of TI PNG Sir Anthony Siaguru flagged the failure of leaders to uphold the law saying; "The inability of elected officials to deliver services and to protect their communities from corruption including electoral corruption was driving away tourists, investors and aid donors". He further added; "If this inaction continues, the Pacific communities will face a direct threat to sustainable development."

As an outcome of the meeting all 6 chapters have identified 3 key areas to focus their efforts in a bid to eliminate some of the immediate consequences of corruption within the region. The chapters agree there is an urgent need to mobilise civil society to scrutinize the performance of public officials and those institutions and individuals tasked with implementing the rule of law and the delivery of justice.

One of the tools to emerge from the meeting will be the development of civic education projects and the protection of the electoral process to help empower communities to be more informed how corruption undermines their democratic rights and freedoms.

All chapters recognize that governments in the region must take the lead and have called upon them to implement the Forum Principles of Good Leadership adopted at Auckland last week during the meeting of Pacific Leaders.

Sir Anthony, in support of the undertaking given by the leaders, stated that TI Chapters will be monitoring the implementation of the renewed commitment to improved regional governance. He cited lack of action on the part of the Pacific Leaders in honouring past declarations as a cause of grave concern.

For further information, contact Dr Barbara-Ann Butler, Director of Public Affairs, Transparency International Australia on (07) 3374 1151 or 0412 494 634 or CEO TI Australia Grahame Leonard, 0411 462 242

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KOORALBYN DECLARATION

Transparency International chapters from the Pacific (TI), at their regional meeting at Kooralbyn Queensland on 23 and 24 August 2003, declare: 1. Corruption is a major threat to sustainable development, stability and security in all countries of the Pacific. It requires cooperation amongst all sectors of society and all countries to combat and prevent corruption.

2. Political, business and civil society leaders across the Pacific must strengthen their efforts to work cooperatively, in order to improve transparency and accountability in the countries of the region.

3. TI welcomes the adoption by Pacific Island Forum Leaders in Auckland on 16 August 2003, of the Forum Principles of Good Leadership and the leaders renewed commitment to improved regional governance.

4. TI also welcomes the leaders decision to undertake a Forum Review Process with early implementation and in particular that it will include examination of ways of enhancing interaction between the Forum and civil society

5. TI notes that implementation of earlier Forum declarations has been slow and uneven and therefore welcomes the leaders commitment to enacting relevant legislation to implement the Honiara Declaration on Law Enforcement Cooperation by the end of 2003.

6. TI renews its call to leaders to implement fully the Forum Eight Principles of Accountability which a recent stock-take by the Forum Secretariat shows is far from complete in many countries.

7. TI notes that the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime will come into effect on 29 September 2003 in 41 countries but within the Pacific only New Zealand has ratified it. TI calls on all Forum countries to become parties to and implement this important instrument as soon as possible.

8. TI further notes that negotiation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption has nearly concluded, in time for a scheduled signing in Mexico in December 2003. TI urges all Forum countries to become parties to and implement the convention.

9. TI notes that regional instruments are also needed to enhance cooperation in the Pacific in corruption prevention and enforcement and calls on all Forum member countries to endorse the Anti-Corruption Action Plan for Asia and the Pacific. TI also urges countries to consider adopting a regional anti-corruption convention for the Pacific, as many other regions around the world have done.

10. Reflecting the vital role that civil society can play in effective anti-corruption efforts at national and regional level, TI urges donors to support civil society in this regard through assisting with core and project funding.

11. TI chapters in Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu pledge to strengthen their individual and collective efforts in the continuing fight against corruption.

Kooralbyn, 24 August 2003


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