Anti-corruption and the role of the public

  • Thu, 3 March 2022

Nay Pyi Taw, March 3,2022

People's participation

    Anti-corruption is being done by many countries all over the world, and they are cooperating as member countries in the "United Nations Convention Against Corruption", which is an international agreement on anti-corruption. Our country is also taking anti-corruption as a national responsibility and gains successes to some extent.  Many challenges can only be solved if strong laws and policies and practical process. Responsible organizations play a key role in the fight against corruption and the participation of the public and civil society organizations is also important. It is not enough to formulate and adopt the anti- corruption measures  that focus only  the responsibility of  anti-corruption organizations and judicial institutions and other law enforcement institutions. Moreover,  it is  also necessary to consider the importance of the participation of the public and civil society organizations.

Provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption

    Article 13(1) of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which Myanmar joined in 2012 as the 165th member state, states, "Each member state shall, in preventing and combating corruption, society, Not only to promote the active participation of individuals and groups outside the public sector such as non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations, but also the existence of corruption in society; The reasons that cause it, Appropriate measures shall be taken in accordance with the principles and principles of the domestic laws of the country in order to encourage and promote public awareness regarding its seriousness and the threats it poses.

The role of the people

    Public participation is a necessary tool for the development of the nation, and it is also the opportunity for the public to participate in public benefit activities. The main objectives of getting the public participation are to be able to know and include the true opinion of the public in the decision-making process;to use public participation in  effective decision-making processes ; to ensure justice and equality, ; to increase the legitimacy of public decision-making and to fulfill the needs in accordance with the law. 

    The role of active citizens in anti-corruption efforts is also important. They  can monitor corruption cases closely; They work to inform other people about corruption and its negative effects .They can evaluate the responsibility and accountability of politicians and political parties. By doing so, political post holders can follow the ethics they need to have  and it leads to the development of the clean government.

The responsibility of the people

    Public participation in combatting is different from participation in other public activities. Corruption  can cause to misuse of regulations and lack of equal opportunities and abuse of law and enforcement. Therefore,  watching the behavior of government employees reporting corruption-related crimes and making demands for appropriate anti-corruption measures, is important in anti-corruption process and widespread public awareness to do so is needed. 

Methods to be followed

  It is necessary to provide pieces of training such as training for reporting corruption to the relevant responsible organization or expressing it through the media, in order for individuals to participate in anti-corruption activities, and develop a culture of righteousness and integrity. In today's technological advancement, it is possible to report corruption online or by e-mail. Either using SMS through mobile phones or You can easily file a complaint using the application. International anti-corruption organizations not only set up websites to receive whistleblower complaints and public awareness activities but also encourage the public to participate in anti-corruption activities. In order to fight corruption effectively, and to promote public participation, an accessible environment need to be nurtured. 

People's expectations

    The form of public participation in anti-corruption by countries often differs depending on their enacted laws and political context. The public's expectation on government offices is that relevant officials do not engage in unethical behavior and take responsibility. It's about having accountability, and vice versa, government offices must act ethically and take responsibility to gain and maintain public trust. It is necessary to perform public service activities with accountability. It takes hard work to gain the public's trust in government offices, but it should be noticed that public trust can be easily lost. If the public's trust is lost in public welfare activities, public participation decreases and may lead to corruption. Likewise, government operations may be less successful.

Participation in civil society organizations

    In today's technological era, civil society organizations are organized not only in the city but also at the national level. International level connection is underway. Therefore,  the role of civil society organizations is important in economic,  social, and environmental issues and influences governance processes.  The ways that civil society organizations can cooperate in anti-corruption work are educating anti-corruption and doing research; monitoring potential corruption; and providing advice on anti-corruption activities. 

    Some civil society organizations have to rely on donations from local and foreign donors, so in anti-corruption activities, they may follow the will of donors and may not be able to do it effectively. Thus, as a consequence of the presence of civil society organizations that fight fake corruption, the public's trust in other civil society organizations that are working properly may decrease.

    In most countries, the government emphasized taking out the rooted endemic corruption like a disease, which causes losses for the state and the people. In such activities, the public and civil society organizations work together to achieve effective success by following the policies, rules, and regulations established by the state. 

(Referring to Anti-Corruption Module 10: Citizen Participation in Anti-corruption Efforts from the E4J University Module Series: Anit-Corruption, published by the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Author - Maung Min Zang