UNbacked meeting examines impact of soaring migration on AsiaPacific

22 September 2008A United Nations-supported meeting opening today in Bangkok is closely looking at the impact of migration in Asia and the Pacific – where the number of international migrants has skyrocketed from 28 million to 53 million in just under half a century – on socio-economic development in the region. Dozens of government officials from over 20 countries and representatives from international organizations have gathered at the two-day event, organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), along with the Thai Government and the International Organization of Migration (IOM).“In Asia and the Pacific, the issue of international migration is emerging as a priority,” ESCAP Deputy Executive Director Shigeru Mochida said at the start of the meeting. “It is vital to understand the complex inter-linkages of migration and development in the regional context, especially how migration can contribute to poverty reduction.”He noted that migration in the region is propelled by both real and perceived inequalities in employment opportunity, income, education and health services, and the situation has further been influenced by the growing imbalance of population size and structure among countries.The Asia-Pacific region is home to over 53 million international migrants and is one of the largest recipients of recorded remittances, totalling over $120 million in 2007.Philip Guest, Assistant Director of DESA’s Population Division, said that labour migration is “closely linked to economic and social outcomes and crucial questions about those links remain to be addressed or revisited.” read more

RTI Commission orders release of Ranils asset declaration

On TISL’s request for access to the Asset Declaration of President Maithripala Sirisena for 2015 and 2016, the RTIC held that the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law does not include the position of President. However, the Commission noted that “the increasing trend among Heads of State is to proactively disclose their assets and liabilities to foster a practice of transparency and public accountability”. The RTIC recommended that this lacuna in the law be redressed, as it would advance “a culture of public accountability and good governance as envisaged by the RTI Act”. TISL welcomed the order and encourages citizens to use asset declarations as a tool to publicly examine allegations of wealth accumulation and to counter corruption. The RTI Commission in their decision noted that “the RTI Act enables a powerful check to be exercised on even potential corruption as this would deter those otherwise enticed to amass public wealth for themselves”. Whilst TISL recognises the ability of the Presidential Secretariat to appeal against the decision of the RTI commission, TISL wishes to note that such a challenge would undermine the President’s stated commitment to transparency, accountability and the public’s right to access asset declarations.Speaking on the decision of the RTIC, TISL Executive Director Asoka Obeyesekere said “this marks a major victory for RTI and the campaign to get asset declarations into the hands of the people. We expect the Presidential Secretariat to take action to furnish a copy of the Asset Declaration as directed by the RTI Commission, which we will immediately share with the public”. (Colombo Gazette) In a landmark decision the Right to Information Commission (RTIC) directed the Presidential Secretariat to disclose the declaration of assets and liabilities of Ranil Wickremesinghe in his role as Prime Minister for 2015 and 2016. The Order was made pursuant to the initial request filed by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) on 3 February 2017.This decision would enable TISL to publicly release the asset declaration once received, as it has been obtained under the RTI Act. The RTIC noted that any parts of the declaration relating to third parties may be redacted and determined that the grounds raised by the Presidential Secretariat – including that the information should be private – do not stand. read more