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NGOs urged to join anti-corruption battle

Update: September, 26/2012 - 10:45

HA NOI (VNS)— The role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in preventing and fighting corruption should be promoted, a conference heard yesterday.

Delivering the opening speech of the conference, held by the People's Participation Working Group (PPWG), chairman Le Quang Binh said fighting corruption was one of the Party and State's top priorities as the nation develops.

Due to the increasingly complex nature of corruption, efforts to oppose it need further contributions from independent social organisations and NGOs in particular, he stressed.

However, the role of NGOs is not regulated in the Law on Anti-corruption, said Tran Van Long, head of the Research Department under the Government Inspectorate Research Institute.

Currently the law only names four groups with the social responsibility of fighting corruption. The are the Viet Nam Fatherland Front, the media, enterprises and inspection boards at commune and district levels.

It was noted at the meeting that NGOs had contributed directly and indirectly in the country's efforts to prevent and fight corruption through research, policy criticism and supervision of regulation implementation.

Dao Thi Nga, acting director of Towards Transparency, said that with the vision of promoting transparency and accountability in Viet Nam, NGOs had conducted a great amount of research. This includes a study of informal costs in the health sector; as well as surveys such as the 2011 research asking Vietnamese youth about their awareness and attitudes toward corruption.

Recognising that the young generation is facing a crisis of faith in social values, Live&Learn - a Ha Noi-based NGO working on education development - found it necessary to focus on anti-corruption and raise awareness of building a transparent society, according to their director Do Van Nguyet.

"We have organised many forums in which youths had opportunity to discuss, study and play educational games about anti-corruption. Through the games, the youths learn of solutions to deal with problems which are likely to happen in the real life."

"NGOs have their own ways to help the country improve its anti-corruption capacity. However, they should associate with each other, creating a network to increase the social pressure on the State to implement laws and increase its accountability," said Tu Thuy Quynh, representative of the Institution for Public Opinion under the Party Central Committee's Commission for Publicity and Education.

Nguyen Minh Thuyet, vice chairman of the National Assembly's Committee for the Education, Youth and Children, suggested that NGOs should enhance co-operation with mass media to help detect and bring corruption cases to light.

Pham Quang Tu, deputy director of the Consultancy on Development – an NGO providing services on policy analysis and advocacy for partners working in sustainable development in Viet Nam – said that clearly NGOs were groups with access to funds and well-researched resources, and therefore should be encouraged to be involved in anti-corruption work. — VNS

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