Transparency International and the UNCAC Coalition strongly condemn the move by Azerbaijan and Turkey to exclude five civil society organisations from participating in the 10th session of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) Conference of the States Parties (CoSP). The conference, starting today in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, runs until 15 December 2023.
As the conference began, Turkey withdrew its objections, but the Azeri objections remain.
The UNCAC recognises that civil society plays a key role in preventing and combating corruption. Still, this role can only be realised if they have the freedom to operate safely, independently and free from undue restrictions, including in international fora. Transparency International and the UNCAC Coalition call for objections to be overturned, highlighting that the arbitrary process used to exclude civil society organisations from the UNCAC CoSP is inconsistent with the Convention and with UN values and standards. Further, we call on State Parties to reform the objection procedures for future CoSPs to prevent its abuse and ensure a timely decision that safeguards civil society participation.
François Valérian, Chair of Transparency International said:
"The unjustified objections against independent civil society groups point to a concerning trend of diminishing civic space globally. These bans pose a threat to international anti-corruption efforts. Transparency International will persist in urging governments to abandon such objection procedure in its current format. This is crucial to prevent arbitrary exclusions, ensuring a more inclusive approach at future CoSPs."
Mathias Huter, Managing Director of the UNCAC Coalition said:
“The objections against leading NGOs have a chilling effect beyond the walls of the Convention centre of the UNCAC CoSP. They are a stark reminder of the pressure and persecution many brave reporters, whistleblowers, and civil society representatives face when they speak up against corruption. We call on States Parties to actively support the removal of the unjustified objections to help make the CoSP an inclusive Conference, enabling all stakeholders to contribute to anti-corruption efforts.”
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