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Transparency International-USA Lauds Senate Ratification of Inter-American Convention Against Corruption

(TI-USA) today applauded Senate ratification of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. Ratification clears the way for the US to engage with its partners in the region in a follow-up process to ensure real progress in implementing and enforcing the Convention.

"At the 1994 Miami Summit of the Americas, the leaders identified corruption as a major obstacle to growth and development. The Convention can be a potent weapon in the anti-corruption arsenal of the many current leaders who are making the fight against corruption a priority," said TI-USA Managing Director Nancy Z. Boswell. TI-USA is the US national chapter of Transparency International, the global coalition with chapters in over 70 countries.

The Convention requires parties to criminalize solicitation or acceptance of bribes and other corrupt acts and to eliminate bank secrecy or political grounds as a basis for refusal to cooperate in criminal investigations. Parties are encouraged to take important preventive measures to reduce their vulnerability to corruption.

Over 20 TI national chapters in the hemisphere have made effective implementation a key component of their anti-corruption program. Noting that "[p]opular support for anti-corruption initiatives remains strong and governments are committed to action," Under Secretary of State Alan P. Larson concluded that "it is not enough for countries to sign and ratify the Convention and pass new laws. We will be working on an effective strategy to ensure that the countries of the hemisphere fully implement this agreement."

The Organization of American States has been developing an effective strategy. At its June 5 General Assembly, the OAS moved toward creation of a process to promote implementation through peer review. The US Senate underscored the importance of such a process in its call for the Administration to report on progress toward an "effective, transparent, and viable" OAS process that includes input from the private sector and non-governmental organizations.

TI-USA commended Senator Helms, Senator Chafee, and others in the Senate for their leadership in securing prompt action and noted that Vice President Gore made US ratification a top Administration priority at the Global Forum on Fighting Corruption in February, 1999.

Nine leading business organizations joined Transparency International in support of ratification: AACCLA, Brazil-US Business Council, Council of the Americas, Mexico-US Business Committee, National Association of Manufacturers, National Foreign Trade Council, PhRMA, US Chamber of Commerce, and the US Council for International Business. They called the Convention the "next important step in the fight against bribery and corruption in this hemisphere."

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