The prolonged stalemate over an effective mechanism to review the implementation of anti-corruption commitments must come to an end if victims of corruption around the world are to obtain justice, according to Transparency International (TI). The call on governments party to the UN Convention against Corruption - the only global legal framework to prevent and criminalise corruption - was issued by close to 100 civil society organisations from around the world during TI’s annual membership meeting.
“These governments should embrace thorough and transparent reviews, which are the only way to ensure that each country’s anti-corruption efforts are judged equally and fairly,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair, Transparency International. States party to the UNCAC will meet in Doha in November to consider the review mechanism.
Without a way to effectively confirm whether states are acting against corruption, the credibility of UNCAC would be badly impaired. A review mechanism is essential to promote country implementation of the convention's requirements. These include the criminalisation of a wide range of acts including bribery, embezzlement of public funds, money-laundering and obstruction of justice. When appropriate legislation is passed and monitored, the essential building blocks for more accountable states are set.
The global coalition’s meeting also called for the recently elected members of the German parliament to swiftly adjust the country’s criminal code regarding the bribery of parliamentarians to remove the main obstacle to Germany's outstanding ratification of UNCAC.
The protection of honest and engaged individuals who report wrongdoing in public and private institutions, often at great personal risk, was also a priority at the TI meeting. Governments must develop dedicated legislation or implement clear and effective measures in existing legal frameworks, while public institutions, companies and non-profit organisations should establish programmes to protect whistleblowers against retaliation. “Whistleblowers must be protected. They are advancing accountability by exposing large webs of corruption, nepotism and conflicts of interest, among other practices that hurt business and undermine trust in the public sector,” said Labelle.
Transparency International is the civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption
Note to Editors: The UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is the most comprehensive global legal framework for combating corruption. It is a binding agreement ratified by 141 states on standards and requirements for preventing, detecting, investigating and sanctioning corruption. The adoption of an effective review mechanism at the upcoming Conference of States Parties is essential for the success of the UNCAC. Article 33 of UNCAC addresses the protection of whistleblowers.
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