Sunday, September 16, 2012

 

Empowering Democratic Activists for MENA Advancement- EDAMA

The United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) is the legally binding international anti-corruption instrument. UNCAC provides a unique opportunity to mount a global response to a global problem. As a member of the UN Coalition Against Corruption (UNCAC), I had applied to Partners-Jordan for participating in the Regional Forum for Arab Democracy (“Empowering Democratic Activists for MENA Advancement- EDAMA”) to be held in Amman, Jordan between September 24 to 27, 2012. I have been selected from Asia and invited to participate. EDAMA is designed to support the proactive engagement of democratic activists in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in ongoing and potential democratic transitions and reforms throughout the region. The forum will facilitate in-person and virtual learning exchanges and opportunities among democratic activists and provide ‘learn-by-doing’ opportunities for MENA democratic activists to apply new skills, ideas, and resources, as it will create an informal global network of democratic activists, provide skills training, and build inter-cultural relationships that will foster ongoing support and virtual exchanges among participants from the MENA region and selected European, Latin American, Asian, and African democratic activists and leaders. The forum will be followed by extensive coaching and capacity-building for motivated participants through online engagement in a virtual platform that supports knowledge sharing, collaboration, social networking, and e-learning. The project will convene several face-to-face sub-regional workshops, which will include more individualized technical assistance, coaching, and networking opportunities to further bolster relevant skills and promote collaboration to enable activists to develop action plans to implement new strategies in their countries. At the close of the program, EDAMA participants will join together for a final regional lessons-learned workshop.
 

The Fight Against Corruption

An e-learning tool for the private sector on the UN Convention against Corruption and the Securing E-Governance: Ensuring Data Protection And Privacy Saturday, June 16th, 2012, from 9:30 am - 5:00pm AHMEDABAD Management Association Hall, Atira Campus, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai Marg, Ahmedabad, INDIA, 380 015 On behalf of Privacy India,in partnership with the Centre for Internet & Society, International Development Research Centre and Society in Action Group, I would like to invite you to ‘Securing e-Governance: ensuring data protection and privacy’. The meeting will focus on discussing the challenges and concerns to privacy in India. Registration is free and open to the public. India has witnessed a rapid proliferation of the use of information and communication technology in the delivery of government services. E-government is seen as an instrument to simultaneously increase the efficiency, transparency and accountability of public administration and improve public service delivery. Consequently, this has transformed the traditional delivery of public sector services, this is known as “e-governance”. These developments have implications and pose challenges for privacy and security. The right to privacy in India has been a neglected area of study and engagement. Although sectoral legislation deals with privacy issues, India does not as yet have a horizontal legislation that deals comprehensively with privacy across all contexts. The absence of a minimum guarantee of privacy is felt most heavily by marginalized communities, including HIV patients, children, women, sexuality minorities, prisoners, etc. - people who most need to know that sensitive information is protected. Please confirm your participation with me at Natasha@cis-india.org. We sincerely hope you will be able to attend and look forward to your participation. The invitation, speaker list and poster for the meeting is enclosed herewith. For more information, visit our website at: http://cis-india.org/internet-governance/securing-e-governance Regards, Natasha Vaz The Centre for Internet and Society Phone: (+91)-080-40926283 Telefax: (+91)-080-25350955 Mobile: 968-675-1357 Background on Privacy India's Public Awareness Series Since June 2010, Privacy India in collaboration with Privacy International, based in London, has been engaging in public awareness through workshops and consultations. These provide a platform for policy makers, sectoral experts, NGOs, and the public to discuss and deliberate different questions of privacy, its intersections and its implications with our everyday life. The discussions have ranged from topics of identity and privacy, to minority rights and privacy, and consumer privacy. The workshops have been organized in different cities - Bangalore, Guwahati, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Goa, etc..

A joint product of the UN Global Compact and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. This e-learning tool uses six interactive learning modules to further the audience's understanding of the UN Global Compact’s 10th principle against corruption and the UN Convention against Corruption as it applies to the private sector. The tool is targeted at everyone who acts on behalf of a company. Each module only lasts about five minutes, providing a quick and effective way of learning. And it is fun too!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

 

Securing e-Governance - Ensuring Data Protection and Privacy

I have been invited to present a paper / speak at the following conference. I am going to speak on the use of UID and Biometric Smart Card to secure e-Governance and ensure data protection and privacy when implemented by an independent non-profit public-benefit agency similar to ICANN for internet. Securing E-Governance: Ensuring Data Protection And Privacy Saturday, June 16th, 2012, from 9:30 am - 5:00pm AHMEDABAD Management Association Hall, Atira Campus, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai Marg, Ahmedabad, INDIA, 380 015 On behalf of Privacy India,in partnership with the Centre for Internet & Society, International Development Research Centre and Society in Action Group, I would like to invite you to ‘Securing e-Governance: ensuring data protection and privacy’. The meeting will focus on discussing the challenges and concerns to privacy in India. Registration is free and open to the public. India has witnessed a rapid proliferation of the use of information and communication technology in the delivery of government services. E-government is seen as an instrument to simultaneously increase the efficiency, transparency and accountability of public administration and improve public service delivery. Consequently, this has transformed the traditional delivery of public sector services, this is known as “e-governance”. These developments have implications and pose challenges for privacy and security. The right to privacy in India has been a neglected area of study and engagement. Although sectoral legislation deals with privacy issues, India does not as yet have a horizontal legislation that deals comprehensively with privacy across all contexts. The absence of a minimum guarantee of privacy is felt most heavily by marginalized communities, including HIV patients, children, women, sexuality minorities, prisoners, etc. - people who most need to know that sensitive information is protected. Please confirm your participation with me at Natasha@cis-india.org. We sincerely hope you will be able to attend and look forward to your participation. The invitation, speaker list and poster for the meeting is enclosed herewith. For more information, visit our website at: http://cis-india.org/internet-governance/securing-e-governance Regards, Natasha Vaz The Centre for Internet and Society Phone: (+91)-080-40926283 Telefax: (+91)-080-25350955 Mobile: 968-675-1357 Background on Privacy India's Public Awareness Series Since June 2010, Privacy India in collaboration with Privacy International, based in London, has been engaging in public awareness through workshops and consultations. These provide a platform for policy makers, sectoral experts, NGOs, and the public to discuss and deliberate different questions of privacy, its intersections and its implications with our everyday life. The discussions have ranged from topics of identity and privacy, to minority rights and privacy, and consumer privacy. The workshops have been organized in different cities - Bangalore, Guwahati, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Goa, etc. Kris Dev Those interested in getting a brief copy of my presentation may send an email to krisdev@gmail.com

Thursday, December 29, 2011

 

Public Statement of Personal Adhesion to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption

I the undersigned, am concerned about the seriousness of the problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of my society, daily undermining the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice, while also compromising the perception of the rule of law in my Country;

I am also concerned about the implications of the ties, which we all know to exist, between corruption and other forms of crime; particularly with organized crime and money laundering;

Moreover, I am concerned about the cases of corruption that have multiplied and penetrated many sectors of my society, consuming a substantial proportion of public resources, and resulting in the growing indignation of society, in direct threat to the political stability and the sustainable development of my country;

I am convinced that impunity for cases of illicit acquisition of personal wealth can be particularly damaging to the credibility of democratic institutions and to the national economic order;

It is a fact that corruption is no longer considered a local problem; it is accepted to be a multidisciplinary human phenomenon that affects all societies and economies, imposing the urgent need of creating a large network of international cooperation formed by individuals, associations, organizations, and governments, willing to prevent it and fight against it every day;

I have decided to collaborate with all those who strive for the establishment of official mechanisms and the enactment of laws that can prevent, detect, and deter corruption in a more effective manner; along with internal money laundering, andthe international transfers of illicitly acquired assets. I am also in favor of national and international summary proceedings for the seizing of such assets to recover these diverted funds;

I am aware of the fact that local legislation, as well as international laws, impose to the Government of my Country an obligation to trigger actions for the prevention and eradication of corruption in all of its departments, which, to be successful, must count on the support and direct participation of individuals and groups outside the public sector, such as civil society, non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations;

I am also aware of the principles of proper management of public affairs and public assets, of fairness, responsibility and equality before the law, as well as the need to safeguard and strengthen the integrity of democratic institutions, thereby fostering, in my Country, a culture of rejection to corruption;

I hereby agree to personally accept, endorse and support the decision of my country of joining the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, thereby forcing all subsequent governments to adopt, within the limits of their possibilities, all efforts required to promote the active participation of the entire society in preventing and combating corruption;

But considering that, regrettably, none of the governments that followed the decision of my country to join UNCAC, strictly complied with their obligation to include and integrate the community in the fight against corruption and have not performed their duty, in accordance with the same instrument, of raising public awareness of the causes of and the severity of corruption, having thus failed to alert everyone to the threat that it poses;

And so, we must consider this lack of integration of society as the main cause of the failure we have experienced in combating corruption in my Country since 1995. It is imperative to demand from the federal authorities from Government and from the Legislative Power the immediately production of a triggering information campaign throughout the country, aiming at fostering, in a simple and transparent fashion, collective awareness of the seriousness of corruption in my Country, through all means of mass communication, conferences and workshops, school programs, universities, unions, associations, etc.;

Thus, by joining UNCAC my country has accepted – before its people and before other nations – to promote social participation in decision making with regard to combating corruption. That is why we must impose to the government of my country the immediate establishment of a truly participatory and democratic management system to fight corruption, since this is globally accepted as one of the key weapons in this fight;

Considering also that this integration between government and society can only occur as a result of a transparent process of national understanding, backed up by media coverage and collaboration, in which voting mechanisms of direct democracy can be used in cases that do not reach a consensus, or even to confirm the existence of a prevailing consensus, this is the only way that citizens have to have an active voice in decision making, without political demagogy, thereby allowing them to exercise popular sovereignty, through plebiscites and referenda ;

Taking into account the fact that, above all, the only known and proven formula for a legal act to gain commitment and support from the entire society for its satisfactory implementation, is to publicly discuss its format, and, after its approval by the Legislative Power, submit it to society for approval through a citizen referendum;

And, finally, considering that to gain indispensable popular consent and support, the proposed measures must establish no time limits to investigatecorruption crimes, thereby increasing the efficiency of investigative mechanisms, while also restricting the freedom and privileges of those involved in such scams, seizing their assets, freezing their accounts, and applying more severe penalties – i.e.: treating corruption as a heinous crime;

These are the reasons I have personally joined UNCAC, for I realize that, beyond the merits in the fight against corruption, the Convention also provides me with an opportunity to help with a breakthrough for democracy in my country by means of establishing, as a legal requirement, the mandatory direct participation of the entire society in the formulation of public policies to combat corruption, as guarantee of further popular support in the implementation and execution of such policies, which should be valid also for all other acting fronts of the Nation.

Thus, considering the power of the decision of the majority as the greatest of all democratic powers – and axiomatic principle and prerequisite of democracy, expressed in many constitutions as “popular sovereignty”, or source from which all government ramifications emanate – I hereby DECLARE, to whom it may concern, that I am fully convinced of the need for immediate integration of the public in all stages of the fight against corruption, starting with the development of a shared public policy, from the drawing up of laws and the enforcement of actions to be taken to the subsequent monitoring of the implementation of such measures, whose success will only be guaranteed if ultimately approved by society, thereby legitimizing a national pact against corruption.

In accordance to the above-stated facts and fully exercising my rights as a citizen, I have constantly demanded from the government and the Congress in my country the immediate fulfillment of their institutional obligations, under penalty of prevarication, to fulfill the promise of immediately including my society in the fight against corruption and, to the best of their abilities, sponsor and conduct public education programs in schools and universities, and symposia and seminars in associations and unions. In short; to carry out all required activities of public information to foster in society a collective sense of intolerance toward corruption.

IN FULL CONFORMITY with this public statement, I hereby endorse it with my personal commitment to the UN Convention Against Corruption, in order to fight for the timely and full implementation of its regulations, especially with regard to the implementation of Article 13 of this Convention, with certainty that I am contributing to the peace and the progress of my Country.

http://www.qualicidade.org.br/adesao/public-statement-of-personal-adhesion-to-the-united-nations-convention-against-corruption/

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION AGAINST CORRUPTION

Preamble

The States Parties to this Convention,

Concerned about the seriousness of problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of societies, undermining the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice and jeopardizing sustainable development and the rule of law, Concerned also about the links between corruption and other forms of crime, in particular organized crime and economic crime, including money laundering,

Concerned further about cases of corruption that involve vast quantities of assets, which may constitute a substantial proportion of the resources of States, and that threaten the political stability and sustainable development of those States,

Convinced that corruption is no longer a local matter but a transnational phenomenon that affects all societies and economies, making international cooperation to prevent and control it essential,

Convinced also that a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach is required to prevent and combat corruption effectively,

Convinced further that the availability of technical assistance can play an important role in enhancing the ability of States, including by strengthening capacity and by institution-building, to prevent and combat corruption effectively,

Convinced that the illicit acquisition of personal wealth can be particularly damaging to democratic institutions, national economies and the rule of law,

Determined to prevent, detect and deter in a more effective manner international transfers of illicitly acquired assets and to strengthen international cooperation in asset recovery, Acknowledging the fundamental principles of due process of law in criminal proceedings and in civil or administrative proceedings to adjudicate property rights....

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Sunday, October 09, 2011

 

Anti-bribery integrity pledge

Anti-bribery integrity pledge

Recognising that integrity is fundamental, I as a committed citizen, will strive to serve my country and the world and its people with respect, dignity and integrity, and consistent with the values and principles of the Constitution.

I commit myself to set an example through ethical conduct for the furtherance of integrity and good governance and to report all corruption and other forms of unethical practice that I am aware of.

I will not give or take bribe or support bribery in any form. I will not accept or offer any advantage, gifts or benefits that might be seen to prejudice my position or lead to conflicts of interest.

I am prepared to explain honestly and be accountable for my actions when dealing with all spheres of society. Therefore, my actions will be transparent. I have declared my assets and assets of my immediate family in the public domain.

I will strive for high standards of service and ethical behaviour that are conducive to the development of the economy and the eradication of poverty.

I will promote these values in those around me. Through the above actions I hope to promote the welfare of all people.

This is my voluntary pledge to the people of my country and the world.

Signature:
Name:
Address:
Place:
Date:

Witnessed by:
Signature:
Name:
Address:
Place:
Date:

Idea borrowed from NACF.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

 

How to fight poverty

In my opinion, poverty is invariably self perpetuating. It breeds where the environment is conducive for its existence and growth. It survives and grows with all those individuals, families and communities who do not take express interest to shake off poverty and come out of poverty. It makes people feel comfortable just to remain in it and complain about it and living it out rather than doing something to drive it away.

One sure way to eradicate poverty would be to create a level playing field and opportunities for all irrespective of any categorization. This can be achieved by ensuring equitable distribution of resources between the haves and have-nots. To achieve this there must be a rigorous resource mapping - supply and demand of various resources. There must be contribution from all towards proper harnessing of resources and prevent abuse of resources. Unique identification and tracking of all resource availability, utilization, demand would help in resource gap identification. Then ways to bridge the gap can be evolved.

The right tools to track online and on real time basis such demand and supply bottom up from the local to the global level through an e-Network using a model of spokes and hub can ensure every entity and resource is mapped. This alone can aid in definitive action rather than just eulogizing about poverty and not taking critical action.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

 

BJP on election reforms

It is heartening to note, a political party of the stature of BJP has come forward to set up a high-level panel on election reforms to study comprehensively the election related issues to help the party effectively formulate its stand on all subjects, including the effect of black money on the elections, criminalisation of politics, efficacy of electronic voting machines and reservation for women.

The panel is expected to deliberate on issues like the delimitation of constituencies in terms of socio-economic factors and geography so that the party could take a practically feasible and politically correct stand on contentious issues confronting the biggest democracy of the world.


The announcement assumes significance at a time when the BJP has taken a tough stand on corruption in mega scams like 2G Spectrum allocation, Commonwealth Games and its insistence of bringing back to country the money deposited in foreign banks by Indians outside the shores.

The panel would also study all reports available in the public domain, including the Administrative Reforms Commission, and interact with the Ministries concerned in the Government and the Election Commission of India. It will also get inputs from the state units, experts and interested public.

The citizens of India congratulate BJP and will support them in this initiative. It is the sincere hope of the citizens that BJP will make the study public and transparent for all citizens to participate with their views without fear or favour.

Nitin Gadkari sets up high-level panel on election reforms

New Delhi, Feb 15 : The BJP today set up a high-level committee on Election Reforms to study comprehensively the election related issues to help the party effectively formulate its stand on all subjects, including the effect of black money on the elections, criminalisation of politics, efficacy of electronic voting machines and reservation for women.



The Committee constituted by BJP President Nitin Gadkari will work under the guidance of top party leaders, including BJP Parliamentary Party Chairman L K Advani, and will have party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi as its Convenor. The panel will also deliberate on issues like the delimitation of constituencies in terms of socio-economic factors and geography so that the party could take a practically feasible and politically correct stand on contentious issues confronting the biggest democracy of the world.

The announcement assumes significance at a time when the BJP has taken a tough stand on corruption in mega scams like 2G Spectrum allocation, Commonwealth Games and its insistence of bringing back to country the money deposited in foreign banks by Indians outside the shores.

The panel would also study all reports available in the public domain, including the Administrative Reforms Commission, and interact with the Ministries concerned in the Government and the Election Commission of India. It will also get inputs from the state units, experts and interested public.

Other members of the panel include BJP General Secretary Thawar Chand Gehlot, former MPs Kirit Somaiya and Banwarilal Purohit, noted psephologist G V L Narasimha Rao, former UP BJP Chief Ramapati Ram Tripathi, activist lawyer Satpal Jain and former bureaucrat Ramakrishna.

--UNI

http://www.newkerala.com/news/world/fullnews-147817.html

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

 

Disrupting Corruption: People Power to gain Accountability

On January 27, 2011 the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict's webinar series will feature a session on people power to curb corruption and gain accountability.


Link to webinar page: http://tinyurl.com/5soydx9

Disrupting Corruption: People Power to Gain Accountability

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