A new report says efforts by South Asian governments to fight corruption have been largely ineffective.
Transparency International released "Fighting Corruption in South Asia: Building Accountability
," on Wednesday, analyzing anti-corruption efforts at 70 institutions in Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The Berlin-based organization says it found that in all six countries, those who want to report, expose or investigate graft "face legal barriers, political opposition and harassment that allow bribery, secret dealings and the abuse of power to go unchecked."
The report finds that South Asians find themselves unable to access key information on how their governments are performing; countries lack meaningful protection for whisteblowers; and there is widespread political interference in work of anti-corruption agencies.
In a press release, Transparency International's Asia Pacific Director Srirak Plipat said, "how does a region with such strong economic growth still have such high levels of poverty?" He noted that "as long as nobody brings the corrupt to justice, South Asia's leaders run the risk that future growth only benefits the powerful."
The group says corruption is still on the rise in South Asia, with all six countries scoring under 40 out of 100 on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index