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Corruption and Human Rights Violations prevalent in many Commonwealth Nations, says Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)

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Common Wealth Games 2010, Wikimedia

New Delhi, March 13, 2017:  On the occasion of Commonwealth Day, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) on Monday urged the intergovernmental organisation to ensure liberty and rule of lawin its member-nations as in many of these countries governance was marked by “abuse of power, corruption and human rights violations”.

“The occasion (Commonwealth Day) will once again see member-states pronounce affirmations to the fundamental principles of the Commonwealth Charter — democracy, rule of law and human rights.

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“Unfortunately, the reality is that these core values are currently under severe strain. A majority of the 2.4 billion people living in Commonwealth countries live in poverty, deprived of rights.

“In too many countries governance is marked by abuse of power, corruption and state violence as well as religious intolerance, attacks on free speech, hate speech, the right to associate and discrimination on grounds of race and gender,” the CHRI, an independent organisation working to protect human rights in Commonwealth countries, said in a statement.

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It pointed to the diminished role that governments are playing in securing people’s rights and in curbing their freedom instead, in the name of economic growth and progress.

“The race for markets and economic growth is often an excuse for curbing rights. However, these are not inimical to each other and economic growth must assure basic rights,” the rights body said.

Commonwealth Day is celebrated by 52 member countries, including India, which form the Commonwealth and were formerly British colonies. The day is not necessarily celebrated formally and not many are aware of it.

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However, the occasion is marked by a speech from the British Queen who also hands over a baton on the same day a year before the quadrennial Commonwealth Games, to start off a relay race.

The day is celebrated annually on the second Monday of March. (IANS)

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The United States Of America Drops Out Of Top 20 Corrupt Countries

For the 2018 index, 180 countries were surveyed. Denmark and New Zealand topped the list while Somalia, Syria, and South Sudan were at the bottom.

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U.S. President Donald Trump is seen through his transparent teleprompter as he speaks during the Missile Defense Review announcement at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., January 17, 2019. VOA

A global anti-corruption watchdog says the United States has dropped four spots in its list of nations’ anti-corruption efforts and is now no longer listed in the top 20 for the first time.

Acting U.S. Representative at Transparency International, Zoe Reiter, calls a four point drop in the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) a “red flag.”

She says it comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing “threats to its system of checks and balances” and an “erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power.”

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Caravans from Central America have inflamed the debate over U.S. immigration policy, with U.S. President Donald Trump using the migrants to try to secure backing for his plan to build a border wall on the frontier with Mexico., VOA

“If this trend continues, it would indicate a serious corruption problem in a country that has taken a lead on the issue globally,” Reiter says.

The United States scored a 71 in the perceptions index after scoring 75 the previous year.

“The expert opinion captured by the CPI supports the deep concern over corruption in government reported by America in our 2017 survey. Both experts and the public believe the situation is getting worse,” Reiter said.

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Bulgarian anti-corruption protesters march during a demonstration in downtown Sofia, VOA

Transparency International uses several criteria for measuring how well a country is fighting corruption, including checks and balances on political power, controls on conflicts of interest and private influence on government, and voter suppression.

Also Read: World’s Anti-Corruption Day

For the 2018 index, 180 countries were surveyed. Denmark and New Zealand topped the list while Somalia, Syria, and South Sudan were at the bottom. (VOA)