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UN Anti-Corruption Convention in danger of missing the mark on political corruption, warns Transparency International

The final round of negotiations now underway in Vienna is critical to ensure an effective global instrument against corruption

"The clearest way governments can prove their commitment to fighting corruption is by drafting and signing up to a strong global anti-corruption instrument," says Transparency International (TI), the global non-governmental organisation engaged in the fight against corruption.

TI is actively participating in the drafting of a UN anti-corruption instrument. Speaking at the negotiation session in Vienna yesterday, TI urged government delegates to ensure that the UN Convention targets corruption of political parties and their officials. If the Convention fails to fully address political corruption, governments will be ignoring their citizens' demands that politicians come clean and leaves open a potential loophole for 'buying politicians'. The recently released TI Global Corruption Barometer, a general public survey conducted in 48 countries on all continents, found that in three countries out of four, political parties were singled out as the institution from which citizens would most like to eliminate corruption.

TI argues that in Article 2 of the draft Convention, the definition of "public official" must be extended to include all officials of political parties, a motion rejected in Vienna yesterday by all of the negotiating governments. TI also urges governments to support and strengthen Article 10 of the Convention, requiring declarations of all significant financial donations to political parties, and argues that this article should be extended to include candidates as well as parties.

TI notes that bribe payments to political party officials have been at the heart of major bribery scandals around the world, in industrialised and developing countries. Political corruption contributes to the growing disillusionment with democratic processes. In many new democracies, it is threatening the sustainability of democratic institutions.

For TI's proposals to the negotiation sessions, please see http://www.transparency.org/

Note to editors:
The 6th session of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Negotiation of the UN Convention against Convention (21 July - 8 August) is currently underway in Vienna. The Convention launch is scheduled to take place in Mexico in December 2003.


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