|Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) Chairperson Jeon Hyun-heui, center, poses with ambassadors in Korea during a roundtable at Millennium Hilton Seoul in central Seoul, Nov. 20, to introduce the upcoming International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC). From left are Thai Ambassador Rommanee Kananurak, Indian Ambassador Sripriya Ranganathan, Bangladeshi Ambassador Abida Islam, Jeon, Kyrgyz Ambassador Dinara Kemelova, Brunei Ambassador Pg Hjh Nooriyah PLW Pg Hj Yussof and Pakistani Ambassador Mumtaz Zahra Baloch. Their hand gesture symbolizes "opposition to corruption and promise for transparency." Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul|
By Yi Whan-woo
Officials of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) and foreign ambassadors here got together to discuss the upcoming global anti-corruption gathering to be hosted by Korea.
ACRC Chairperson Jeon Hyun-heui introduced the 19th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), scheduled from Dec. 1 to 4, and the government's campaign for transparency to six female ambassadors here during a roundtable co-hosted by the ACRC and The Korea Times, Nov. 20. The ambassadors also shared their opinions on the event and anti-corruption experiences from their own countries.
The conference involves participation of governments, international organizations, academia, the private sector and civil society in facilitating anti-corruption efforts in politics, bureaucracy, business, journalism and others.
It is co-hosted by the host country's government and Transparency International (TI). Korea will be the first in the world to host the IACC twice, with the previous one in 2003. This year's meeting will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more than 3,000 participants from 140 countries are expected to join the virtual meetings.
"It will be much appreciated if you help us promote the ACRC to relevant authorities in your country, so that even ordinary citizens could participate in the IACC," Jeon said during the roundtable with ambassadors at Millennium Hilton Seoul.
The six ambassadors were Abida Islam of Bangladesh, Pg Hjh Nooriyah PLW Pg Hj Yussof of Brunei, Sripriya Ranganathan of India, Dinara Kemelova of Kyrgyzstan, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch of Pakistan and Rommanee Kananurak of Thailand.
"Taking this opportunity, I hope that your countries and Korea could strengthen cooperation in anti-corruption, especially in the time of the COVID-19 crisis in which the socially vulnerable and the poor are hit hard and fairness and transparency are needed more than ever," Jeon added.
|Indian Ambassador to Korea Sripriya Ranganathan, third from left in the back, speaks during a roundtable co-hosted by the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission and The Korea Times at Millennium Hilton Seoul hotel, Nov. 20, a meeting to promote the International Anti-Corruption Conference next month. Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul|
The roundtable was initially planned for two hours, but it lasted longer with the envoys asking questions, sharing their thoughts and comparing cases in their respective countries in relation to details on ACRC policies and the IACC as briefed by the commission.
Bangladeshi Ambassador Islam asked about mandatory education the commission has been offered to public servants and students since 2016 to enhance integrity.
The Brunei envoy congratulated Jeon, a former ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) lawmaker, for her work after taking office in July. She requested detailed guidelines on conference registration.
Ambassador Kemelova proposed Korea consider signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on anti-corruption with Kyrgyzstan, in addition to nine countries that have so far.
She also suggested Korea and Kyrgyzstan share anti-corruption training programs.
Ambassador Ranganathan said India has "multiple institutions available" including the Central Vigilance Commission that can carry out investigations in coordination with other bodies when corruption cases are reported.
Jeon explained the difference between the cases of India and Korea, where the ACRC receives such reports but passes them to the prosecution if an investigation is necessary.
The Pakistani envoy assessed the roundtable "very comprehensive," saying it gave the ambassadors an opportunity to learn about Korea's anti-corruption efforts and cooperation being made for the IACC.
"Anti-corruption is a key for the government for democracy to flourish and for the public to have accountability of their participation. This is coupled with transparency and good governance, which are all key for human experience and democracy," she said.
Ambassador Kananurak noted Thailand's National Anti-Corruption Commission has a cooperative network with Laos and Indonesia and seeks to expand it, possibly with Korea.