Transparency International award recognises those committed to creating a world free of corruption
Outstanding individuals fighting corruption internationally and in Bangladesh, Morocco, Haiti and Vietnam are the finalists for the 2007 Transparency International (TI) Integrity Awards.
“These finalists have taken on petty and grand corruption in different circumstances. The ordeals they faced exemplify the complexity of corruption and the many ways it should be tackled”, said Sion Assidon, Chair of the Integrity Awards Committee and member of TI’s Board of Directors.
“The finalists underscore that courageous and creative work can overcome embedded corruption in both developed and developing countries. Fighting corruption means challenging people and institutions that often wield enormous power and should be recognised”, added Assidon.
Each year the Integrity Awards Committee receives a substantial number of nominations for candidates who have challenged corruption and taken serious risks in the name of justice, human rights, transparency and integrity. But only seldom does their work win the public acknowledgement that it deserves.
The 2007 finalists are:
Claudy Gassant is chief prosecutor of corruption-ridden Haiti. Since his return from a four-year exile, he has taken up the determined fight against corruption in his country. Unimpressed by the power or wealth of the suspects, Gassant holds up the rule of law and the independence necessary for justice. Through his integrity and unremitting stance, he encourages public action against corruption and against those who support it.
Sincere retiring in 1984, Le Hien Duc, a Vietnamese school-teacher, has become a resourceful anti-corruption fighter by filing complaints and helping others to challenge petty bribing and large-scale graft. Her respect for authority ends where corruption begins. Ms. Duc has tracked down high and low-level officials through different means, at home or in the office, to ensure that they cannot ignore the victims of corruption claiming their rights. In spite of many threats, she provides hope and encouragement for stopping acceptance of corruption.
Abdelatif Kanjae, Lhibib Lhaji and Khalid Bouhail are Moroccan lawyers who denounced widespread corruption in the country's legal system. In an open letter published in the press, a group of lawyers demanded investigation of corrupt practices in one of Morocco's regional courts, known as the “case of Tetouan” and the legal system in general. Despite subsequent repression and being stripped of their professional credentials, these lawyers gained sympathisers and became a symbol of resistance to corruption. They helped to create public awareness about the importance of an independent and impartial justice system.
Mark Pieth, a criminal law and criminology professor at the University of Basel in his native Switzerland, has provided outstanding leadership in fighting corruption on an international scale. Prof. Pieth has countered corruption not only as a co-founder of the Basel Institute on Governance but as chair of the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions and as a member of the Independent Inquiry Committee into the Iraq Oil-for-Food Programme of the United Nations. His willingness to publicly criticise governments that fail to implement the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and those that did not to provide enough support to identify companies that paid kickbacks in the oil-for-food scandal.
Prothom Alo, a leading daily newspaper in Bangladesh has consistently exposed major corruption at the highest levels of government during the last decade. Led by its courageous Editor, Motiur Rahman, the newspaper’s team of intrepid journalists have overcome threats of criminal prosecution, harassment and death threats to succeed in creating awareness and in turning the page on apathy in regards to corruption. Their fearless reporting sets an example for freedom of the press and in shedding light on how corruption takes place and why it is so detrimental to societies.
Now in its sixth year, the Integrity Awards have honoured individuals and organisations from Asia and Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. These have included journalists and public prosecutors, accountants and government officials along with leaders of civil society.
The TI Integrity Awards Committee consists of 11 individuals from across the world, who have been active in the anti-corruption movement for many years. They serve as the jury for the awards and confer with the TI Board of Directors. Nominations are accepted for individuals and organisations and are subject to independent vetting under the guidance of the Integrity Awards Committee.
The 2007 Integrity Awards winners will be honoured at a ceremony to be held on 10 December 2007.
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