The Accountability and Monitoring Group
Members of this group represent the following countries:
- Papua New Guinea
Context, Gaps and Challenges:
In all these countries, marginalised groups are excluded and there is very little policy intervention focused on marginalised sections of the population (such as disabled, migrants, secluded castes, ethnic minorities, refugees, stateless, etc) and neither are the existing policy interventions Rights Based. In the absence of rights based policies, holding the government to account becomes a challenge. The problem is further compounded, as disaggregated data is not available, for instance, there is no reliable data on the number of disabled persons in the Pacific region. In the absence of a uniform data collection mechanism to capture such disaggregated data, planning for specific marginalised populations becomes difficult; and even when plans are made in the Pacific or in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, no consultative processes are held with representatives of marginalised populations, thus making the planning process non-participatory and non-consultative in nature.
Citizens have no access to information in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan which makes it difficult to demand for accountability. While on the other hand India has a number of progressive policies – such as participatory planning mechanisms which in theory make bottom up planning a reality and the Right to Information Act, which enable ordinary citizens to demand for information from the government – the problem lies in the non- implementation of these policies, making the process a mere formality.
Migrants – both internal and international, employed as domestic workers, construction workers in agriculture, food production and factories, among others, are commonly viewed as ‘non-citizens’ and deprived of their rights. The condition is aggravated when the migrants are from poorer countries. Numerous pragmatic issues such as language and the spread out nature of migrants’ work places act as barriers to accessing meaningful services. There are also policies and practices which intentionally obstruct access and can be considered discriminatory. For instance, some destination countries have policies requiring medical screening tests for a range of treatable diseases and conditions, which are considered exclusionary for those who test positive. In the current times when countries across the world are going through civil war, religious war and ‘ethnic cleansing’ a large number of refugees seeking refuge in relatively affluent countries in Asia Pacific regions end up in Thailand, India, Indonesia and the Pacific. If they seek refuge in a country which has not signed the UN convention on refugees, these people find they have no civil rights and their daily lives are very difficult without access to education or health facilities and other basic human rights.
In India there are several successful examples of citizen monitoring and accountability processes (in some cases led by women from marginalised communities) that generate grass root evidence which is then used to advocate for improved quality of care and upholding of rights and entitlements, especially of the marginalised.
In the Pacific, Civil Society Alliances have been actively taking part in consultative mechanisms and have dialogued with their governments both within their respective countries, and have also been providing commentaries on regional priorities which enables bottom-up planning, for instance the advocacy done by the Disability Forum.
In Thailand, although migrant workers are unable to fully receive their full rights and benefits, the government does not have discriminatory immigration policies based on health status, and allows documented migrants to receive proper treatment for such conditions such as HIV, STI, TB as well as proper maternal care and delivery.
We call on Governments and duty bearers to:
- Simplify policy documents into accessible and easy to read versions and take steps to create awareness and promote engagement on them in the general public, thus ensuring citizens’ meaningful participation in planning, monitoring and demanding for accountability. In order to make this a truly objective process, the CSOs selected for inputting in the planning process should not be nominated by the government but by the CSO community themselves.
- Institute uniform data collection tools to gather disaggregated data across countries which must form the basis of monitoring indicators developed jointly by the government and CSO representatives. Officials responsible for data collection and drafting plans should be provided training on these methods and on upholding rights and privacy of respondents.
- Establish an effective partnership between governments and CSOs in developing biannual compliance country reports must be drafted by governments with shadow reports by civil society and these should be made available in the public domain. Right to Information should be instituted, promoted and protected in all countries.
- The Rights of all human beings, regardless of nationality status, should be respected by creating and implementing inclusive policies to uphold the highest standard of human rights.
- Orientations should be provided to elected representatives, national statistics officers and government functionaries on all International Convenants, in partnership with CSOs and the other responsible government departments.