For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
08 March 2010.
In the light of adverse media reports relating to the activities of Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) in recent weeks, we find it timely to elaborate on TISL’s work and outreach in Sri Lanka.
TISL is the Sri Lanka Chapter of Transparency International, the Global Coalition against Corruption with more than 90 locally established chapters. As a national chapter, TISL is mandated to combat systemic weaknesses that allow for corruption and does not undertake investigations of alleged corruption or expose individual cases. TISL is able to access and gain from the invaluable experience and tools through the TI network, while being an autonomous, and independent Sri Lankan organization. TISL has its own membership, board of directors and staff.
Having been in active operation for the past 8 years, TISL has implemented extensive programmes to enhance integrity and eradicate corruption by generating knowledge and stimulating action. An annual work plan is prepared every year based on a five-year Strategic Plan with the guidance and approval of the Board of Directors.
TISL has consistently adhered to the highest standards of transparency and accountability in implementing several multi-sectoral, geographically diverse and multifaceted activities towards “Building a nation of Integrity”. These programmes are implemented in a non partisan and apolitical manner.
We work in close collaboration with several Ministries and Government departments. This relationship resulted in the training of over 1500 public officials building their capacity to deal with corruption and promoting good governance in one year (2008) alone. TISL work covers not only anti-corruption but also assurance of Transparency and Good Governance in both public and private (formal and informal) sectors. TISL work and network alliances spread across the island and is not restricted to Colombo and programmes are presently held in 14 districts with active support from district administration and the public. Our work is conducted in a manner to cater to all language requirements (i.e. Sinhala, Tamil and English).
Governments cannot fight corruption on its own. It needs partnerships. United Nations Convention against Corruption, to which Sri Lanka is a signatory, requires the government to work in collaboration with civil society to eliminate corruption. Fighting corruption is consistent with the constitutional mandate, government’s policy and international obligations and hence every individual and institution of this country should raise all its resources to eliminate corruption. Receiving foreign funding to fight corruption is not at all inconsistent with such obligations and is in fact mutually beneficial to the government as well as the institutions engaged in eliminating corruption.
In line with our vision and mission TISL adheres to highest integrity standards in its administration and management of finances. We appreciate the support extended by members, public institutions, our donors and all other stakeholders who have demonstrated their unstinted faith in the work we do. We have placed in public domain all funding received since inception, the respective funding sources, annual audited accounts and a comprehensive narration of programmes implemented with these funds. Countless number of persons have sought information from us on TISL our funding and our activities, and we have not denied even one request. We do recognize right to information and do practice same. Public is invited to access our website http://www.tisrilanka.org for all such information regarding TISL.
Fighting corruption is not an easy task in any society in the world. Our impact has been achieved in a challenging environment, where limited space is afforded to Civil Society Organizations like ours, addressing politically and socially sensitive areas. We have stood strong in the face of criticism. We have moved forward in the wake of these challenges. Our strength is in our stakeholders and beneficiaries throughout the country who have created a significant demand for our work and it is this demand and partnership that reinforces our confidence.
Board of Directors and Management
Transparency International Sri Lanka