Danish Parliament Ombudsman Held Seminar in Vietnam

Danish Parliamentary Ombudsman Dr. Hans Gammeltoft-Hansen shared his experience from 21 years as Ombudsman in promoting good administrative practices and fighting corruption at a seminar on transparency in public administration arranged by Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) and the Danish Embassy on November 19, 2007.
“The Ombudsman can become an important player in the field of developing norms for good administration. In this way the Ombudsman can be a skilled advisor on how to minimize friction between citizen and state – or more precisely, between the individual and the authorities who has been enabled to regulate the legal and actual situation of the members of society”. Those were some of the opening words of Danish Parliamentary Ombudsman Dr. Hans Gammeltoft-Hansen during the seminar in Hanoi which saw participation from more than 60 government officials, researchers, experts and journalists.
The Ombudsman Institution is, due to its function in handling complaints from the public and investigating state authorities, a key player in ensuring transparency, fighting corruption and ensuring impartial treatment of individuals and companies.
Danish Ambassador Peter Lysholt Hansen underscored that while legal measures are important, a healthy, open and ongoing debate on public administrative reform and anti-corruption requirements was an important element in ensuring successful efforts.
“Today those public sector agencies that citizens have to rely on for permits and certificates often do not have the trust of the people due to corruption, lack of transparency and heavy bureaucracy. Events such as this seminar are vital elements in promoting awareness, learning from experiences, both from Vietnam and abroad, and ensuring a healthy and open debate on public administrative reform and anti-corruption requirements.”, he stated in his remarks.
The seminar witnessed a lively debate, which included interventions also from Vice Minister of Home Affairs, Thang Van Phuc, on priorities of the Government’s public administrative reform programme.
Comments by the attendees centred on how the “relationship between the administrative agencies, citizens and society needs to be strengthened” and on the need to ensure that the state had to change from “ruling to serving the people”.

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