By Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik. In the following my interview Mears Samnang von Accountability in Cambodia. I asked him about the objectives of his organization and about the things which must change in Cambodia.
Milena Rampoldi: Which is the main objective of Accountability International?
Mears Samnang: The objective of Accountability International is to introduce greater accountability within the public and private sectors, as well as in society as a whole, in order to enhance public service delivery, reduce and eradicate corruption, reduce poverty and bring-about harmonization.
Mission: AIs mission is to enhance global accountability, integrity and transparency through the use of technologies; to underpin bottom-up empowerment by linking this with a top-down approach.
Values: Accountability, Integrity, Transparency, Democracy, The rule of law, Justice, Gender empowerment, An inclusive society
What is the main objective in Cambodia?
Accountability Cambodia is a non-partisan, non-government organization (NGO) based in Cambodia.
We join together to create social capital; to accountability in Cambodia.
How to improve democracy in Cambodia?
To achieve this, we have to strengthen the National Election Committee, we have to promote Free and Fair Elections, encourage citizens to votes and set up mobile offices in foreign countries.
Recently, AC initiates a project on Voluntarily Income and Asset Declaration Online (VIADO) against corruption especially in NGOs. There are more than 30 NGO leaders, students and private employees individually support this project including Mr. Chhang Youk, the Executive Director of Documentation Center of Cambodia, who received the Truman-Reagan Freedom Award from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, DC in 2000, named one of TIME magazine’s “60 Asian heroes” in 2006, and one of the “Time 100” most influential people in the world in 2007 for his stand against impunity in Cambodia and elsewhere. Here is our new initiative http://www.accountabilityinternational.org.au/?page_id=1166
These leaders volunteer to declare their personal income and assets online to show their integrity in their leadership. We want to encourage a bottom up reform by initiating an asset declaration online by NGO leaders as a model of political parties, and public sector. The main idea of this initiative is that civil society organizations (CSOs) play an important role in the process of development, observing and criticizing the government; however, they often lack integrity, transparency, and accountability themselves. They are accountable to donors rather than public. Moreover, their level of integrity system was a bit higher than the public sector, 48 per cent and 36 per cent respectively (Transparency Cambodia 2014). Therefore, it is crucial for reform to start by enhancing the integrity, transparency and accountability of CSOs as a model for political parties and the government.
Which are the main obstacles to democracy in Cambodia?
-Politicize in public institutions
-Corruption and nepotism
-High level of illiteracy
ProMosaik thinks that democracy is a movement from the bottom to the top and can be implemented by awareness and education. What do you think about it?
I think it is a good approach to raise awareness from bottom to the top because it can increase level of knowledge and participation of people throughout the country. It can be promoted via social media, volunteers, and public institutions.
What has your organization reached until now and what is your dream for the social and political future of Cambodia?
AC has been networking with NGO leaders, political parties, public institutions, and students to raise awareness of corruption undermine democracy, rule of law, and human rights. My dream is that to bring politicians and NGO leaders to have accountability to the people through practicing voluntarily income and asset declaration online. I want to see politicians practice VIADO before they win the election, and they have to step down if they cannot fulfil their promise.