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In law, citizens have a right to form civil society organizations CSOs focused on anti-corruption or good governance. The Constitution of Colombia has several articles related to anti-corruption articles 23, 90,,, and and also to the right of citizens to organize freely. As in other cases in Colombia, legislation about the right to form civil society organizations is complex.
The Constitution guarantees the right of free association art. According to article of the Constitution, the government should contribute to the organization, promotion, and training of civic and comunitarian nongovernmental eecreto in order to make them democratic mechanisms of representation in instances of participation, concertation, control and oversight of public management.
Although there is no specific law on the formation of Civil Society Organizations focused on anticorruption and good governance, legal dispositions related to this type of organization can be found on the regulations for social control, veedurias ciudadanas citizen oversight committeesand nonprofit organizations. In what refers to the conformation of CSOs, according to the decree ofthe only requirement for the recognition of nonprofit organizations is the registration in the respective Chamber of Commerce.
The Law of develops desiduos article of the Constitution and the right of citizens to oversee public management. The law of National Development Planstates as an objective the promotion of citizen participation in the definition, execution and oversight of public management. Other norms that refer to citizen participation in the oversight of public administration are the Law 80 of Public ProcurementLaw of popular and group actions and Law of Citizen Participation.
Programa Presidencial de Lucha contra la corrupcion http: Ley de http: Documento explicativo de pactos por secreto transparencia. A YES score is earned when freedom to assemble into groups promoting good governance or anti-corruption is protected by law, regardless of political ideology, religion or objectives. Groups reslduos a history of violence or terrorism within last ten years may be banned.
Groups sympathetic to or related to banned groups must be allowed if they have no history of violence. A NO score is earned when any single non-violent group is legally prohibited from organizing to promote good governance or anti-corruption. These groups may include non-violent separatist groups, political parties or religious groups. There is no specific legislation about the sources of funding for CSOs and thus they are free to receive funding from any source.
The only restriction is the article of the Constitution which prohibits donations from public to private sector entities. CSOs can still access public funds through contracts or services. However, according to the Taxing Statute, certain CSOs those working on health, education, culture, religion, sports, scientific research and social development can get a reduction in taxes if they receive donations, but only if their objective is of general interest. It seems that CSOs working on good governance and anticorruption issues are not subject of these deductions.
One of the big discussions around CSOs and nongovernmental organizations in Colombia refers to hospitalagios sources of funding. Nowadays, CSOs face financial problems because most international support is being channelled through the government or has been moved to countries facing more acute crises. International donors generally ask for domestic compensations, and many CSOs working on democratization and anticorruption issues were used to get international funding and find it difficult to generate their own internal resources.
Difficulties to find resources are deepened due to the lack of efficiency of NGOs but also to the stigmatization they face. Reto Economico para las ONG. A YES score may still be earned if funds from groups with a history of violence or terrorism within last ten years are banned.
A NO score is earned if there any formal legal or regulatory bans on foreign or domestic funding sources for CSOs focused on anti-corruption or good governance. There is no legal obligation for CSOs to make information public although there is an obligation for veedurias ciudadanas, but it is not clear how this obligation should work. Nonprofit organizations should report to the Chambers of Commerce their financial balance, their annual budget and any change to statutes, but there hospitalraios no further reporting requirement.
The institutions that control and oversee nonprofits are often understaffed and lack resources to follow up. However, the hoapitalarios that control and oversee nonprofits are often understaffed and lack resources to follow up, and it is not clear what is the mechanism that citizens can use to ask for information to CSOs. Inand after a series of accusations of lack of transparency hospitzlarios corruption in agreements of cooperation between public and private organizations and international organisms, the government issued the decree by which it compels all organizations receiving funding from agreements of cooperation to present a monthly relation of such contracts and agreements to the tax collection agency DIAN.
Also inconcerned about transparency, 34 nongovernmental organizations with diverse objectives, many of them related with the promotion of transparency and good governance, signed a pact residjos to disclose their sources of funding and promote transparency and accountability in their own interventions beyond a purely financial or economic perspective.
Programas de Gestión del Riesgo
The initiative was created to expand public information on the work of NGOs, to promote a culture of transparency, to respond partially to attacks made by the government to many human rights organizations, and to repel the attempt of different actors to co-opt NGOs.
Within this initiative inNGOs presented the first public report about their sources of funding and their activities. This fund has subscribed Pacts of Cooperation in order to fund 15 initiatives of citizen oversight at the regional level, thus contributing to more transparency and independence of citizen oversight.
ONG por la Transparencia. Corporacion Transparencia por Colombia. Ciudadanos al cuidado de lo publico. To register, the organization must present a document detailing the name, adress and identification of the founders, the object, the funding, management mechanisms, the periodicity of meetings and the faculties of the comptroller, if there is one.
The relative lack of obstacles to create CSOs and the pre-eminence that is legally given to citizen participation is reflected in the fact that Colombia is one of the Latin American countries where the third sector has grown sustainedly and is comparatively big. In the case of Veedurias citizen oversight committees there are some legal contradictions regarding the exercise of oversight activities by legal entities.
Residuso is not completely clear what is the procedure that citizens should follow when they are already organized and want to conduct oversight activities veeduriathus creating some barriers to the exercise of veeduria. Given rfsiduos little structural specialization and differentiation of CSOs, it is difficult to trace specific difficulties for CSOs focused on good governance or anticorruption, however it is possible to identify strong informal barriers for CSOs to operate freely.
First, CSOs are more able to operate freely at the national level than at the local level. There are civil society organizations which are recognized nationally and can operate safely such as the Chapter of Transparency International, Confecamaras, Congreso Visible. Succesful oversight experiences are usually those in which big economic and media hospitalariso are involved.
But there are other cases, especially those in which corruption issues are closely linked to human rights violations, as is commonly the case in Colombia, in which organizations are constantly threatened.
Thus, in practice many local nongovernmental organizations are not able to denounce as they might be prey hoospitalarios threats from armed groups or corrupt public employees at the local level.
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Organizations promoting transparency and civic culture can operate more freely than those directly committed to denounceing or investigating corruption cases. Second, although the proliferation and number of NGOs and CSOs working on good governance for example there is an estimate of oversight experiences currently in place is a positive sign about the strength of civil society, yet it creates problems as many of these organizations lack resources to operate in a sustained manner.
CSOs have little knowledge of decrrto strategies, and thus they are limited to act.
In the case of veedurias citizen oversight committees as this is not a professionalized activity, it becomes a stepping stone to access jobs with the government or other private agencies, weakening the control exercise itself. Third, although legally there are many ways for civil society activists to participate, in many cases there is incomplete knowledge about the range of mechanisms reeiduos can be used for this purpose.
Fourth, in practice some spaces of citizen participation might end up being coopted by the government TC as in the case of the case of Local Planning Council, a space in which CSOs can engage in decretk planning. The illegal investigation and follow up became public in 267 after Senator Gustavo Petro and the NGO CINEP revealed documents about illegal wiretaps and intercepts of phone calls to human rights organizations.
These are cases of human rights defenders being accused of libel and slander but prosecutors fail to investigate fully whether the accusations made by activists are true or decreot. The government of Alvaro Uribe has not issued any public response about the actions of decrteo DAS, and continues attacking publicly organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Committee of Victims of Violence, sometimes accusing them of being guerrilla supporters.
El Tercer Sector en Colombia. El Espinoso camino de un mecanismo de control social: Asalto ilegal a las oficinas de la corporacion Casa de la Juventud y la corporacion Redvivir http: In the Dock and Under the Gun.
CSOs focused on promoting good governance or anti-corruption can freely organize with little to no interaction with the government, other than voluntary registration. Hlspitalarios focused on promoting good governance or anti-corruption must go through formal steps to form, requiring interaction with the state such as licenses or registration. Formation is possible, though there is some burden on the CSO. Some unofficial barriers, such as harassment of minority groups, may occur. Other than pro-government groups, CSOs focused on promoting good governance or anti-corruption are effectively prohibited, either by official requirements or by unofficial means, such as intimidation or fear.
Since the Constitution, citizen rediduos became one of the pillars of the political system in Colombia. It is reflected in several laws and mechanisms created to ensure citizen participation. The specific instances in which CSOs working on anticorruption and good governance can engage in policy making process are the National Planning Councils and Regional Planning Councils.
These instances of participation give a considerable margin for CSOs to participate in discussions about policy making, but many times their opinions are not reflected in the final decisions.
The Commission was designed as a mechanism to increase the engagement of CSOs in policy making, but it has not worked in practice. The Citizen Subcommission is composed by members proposed by CSOs and then elected by the president, thus, in practice there is a barrier for open participation, especially from small CSOs. The Commission is not working in practice. Usually, big national CSOs are called to give comment on specific issues in the elaboration of laws in Congress.
However, in general participation faces obstacles to be effective or does not go beyond the discussion of the policy itself. Cuadernos de Transparencia 8. Civil society organizations focused on anti-corruption or good governance are an essential component of the political process. CSOs provide widely valued insights and have political power. Those CSOs play a leading role in shaping public opinion on political matters. Those CSOs are willing to articulate opinions on political matters, but have little access to decision makers.
They have hospitalraios influence over public opinion, but considerably less than political figures. Those CSOs are unwilling to take positions on political issues.
They are not relevant to changes in hispitalarios opinion. There are no reports of CSOs being shut down by the government during the study period and usually CSOs close by their own initiative, or as a result of financial pressures and threats coming from armed or corrupt actors but not from the government. The illegal investigation and follow up became public in September after Senator Gustavo Petro and the nongovernmental organization CINEP revealed documents about illegal wiretaps and intercepts of phone calls to human rights organizations.
There are cases of human rights defenders being accused of libel and slander but prosecutors fail to investigate fully whether the accusations made by activists are true or not. The government of Alvaro Uribe has not issued any public response about the actions of the DAS, and continues attacking publicly organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Hospiyalarios International and the Committee of Victims of Violence, sometimes accusing them of being guerrilla members.
According to the most recent report of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders OBS threats derived from the armed conflict as well as government stigmatization continue to be hospiyalarios constraints for the action of human rights defenders. A YES score is earned if there were no CSOs shut down by the government or residuis to cease operations because decrteo their work on corruption-related issues during the study period.
YES is a positive score. A NO score is earned if any CSO has been effectively shut down by the government or forced to cease operations because of its work on corruption-related issues during the study period. If it seems likely that the CSO was forced to cease operations due to its work, then the indicator is scored as a NO.
Residuoos is defined broadly to include any abuses of power, not just the passing of bribes. In practice, in the past year, no civil society activists working on corruption issues have been imprisoned. During the period studied, there were reported cases of irregular detention of civil society activists working on corruption issues.