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Stronger anti-corruption measures needed to ensure citizen security in the Americas

A stronger effort to fight corruption by governments in the Americas and the implementation of transparency, accountability and greater access to information in governance institutions is imperative to ensure citizen security, according to Transparency International (TI), the anti-corruption organisation.

TI and its chapters in the Americas presented a series of recommendations ahead of the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly to be held in El Salvador from 5-7 June calling for more accountability and professionalism in the police and prison systems, and greater enforcement of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.

“As long as corruption prevails, weak institutions, poor governance practices and the excessive influence of private interests will continue to undermine the best efforts to promote equitable and sustainable human development. Inequality fuels crime, instability and insecurity, which are affecting many countries in the region.” said Manfredo Marroquín, TI Senior Advisor for Central America.

The OAS was the first regional organisation to adopt a convention against corruption in 1996, but TI monitoring reports show there are serious gaps in its implementation. To address these and the key theme of this year’s summit on Citizen Security in the Americas, TI is calling for the OAS to:

  • Promote integrity among security forces and public officials by introducing effective internal control mechanisms and anti-corruption training
  • Promote transparency in the institutions responsible for citizen security programmes
  • Ensuring civil society participation in OAS activities is unrestricted
  • Develop an internal policy regulating access to public information held by the OAS, which should be consistent with the standards of other multilateral organisations
  • A greater role for civil society in monitoring compliance with the Inter-American Convention against Corruption

While the Americas has made important economic gains in the last years, close to 200 million or a third of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean are poor, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.

Violence and crime rates are at alarming levels. The economic cost of violence generated by organised crime in Latin America stands at US $168 billion, equivalent to 15 per cent of the Latin American gross domestic product (Inter-American Development Bank).

“This is the year for the OAS to take action; to restore trust in the institutions that are intended to protect citizens and prevent impunity, and to ensure States fulfil their anti-corruption commitments,” said Marroquín.

Transparency International is the civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption

Note to editors: TI has chapters or contact groups in 17 countries throughout the Americas. In 2009 TI produced a summary report, The State of Anti-Corruption: Assessing Government Action in the Americas. Also available are civil society reports on implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.

For any press enquiries please contact

Berlin: Sophie Brown, Communications Officer
Marta Erquicia, Americas Senior Programme Coordinator
Transparency International
T: + 49 30 34 38 20-19/-33
E: [email protected]

San Salvador: Carla Trillos
T: + 503 2209 5305
E: [email protected]

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