UN peacekeeping missions must tackle corruption

UN peacekeeping missions must tackle corruption

Failing to take account of the threat of corruption during peacekeeping operations can come at a high cost, warns a new study by Transparency International’s Defence and Security Programme. In the long run, the entire success of an international intervention can be put in jeopardy if corruption is not addressed early on in the process.

Corruption in conflict can perpetuate violence and opens the door to organised crime. Yet guidance on preventing corruption is largely absent from almost everything to do with peacekeeping. There is no general UN policy relating to corruption in post-conflict situations and peacekeeping mandates rarely, if ever, mention it. Peacekeeping training centres do not include guidance on it.

Underlying this is the cultural approach to corruption by diplomats, policy-makers and peacekeeping practitioners: corruption is not yet seen as a central or even an important issue. Take Afghanistan: only after nine years of one of the largest military interventions in history was modest international action on corruption initiated. Why did it take so long? What was the cost of this? Most officials, and certainly the international military forces, now accept that this indifference was a serious mistake. (You can find other examples of corruption in peacekeeping in our press release.)

Visit our new website to read about our new report Corruption & Peacekeeping: Strengthening peacekeeping and the UN.

That is why we are calling on the UN to end its indifference to corruption and to aggressively tackle secret dealings, the abuse of power and bribery in its peacekeeping operations. This is not an easy task. Peacekeeping forces are deployed to challenging environments where patronage networks and corruption often go unchecked. Plagued by decades of conflict and weak governance, post-conflict environments such as Haiti, Guinea-Bissau and Kosovo are often fertile breeding grounds for organised crime.

For example, officers in the police unit in MINUSTAH (Haiti) extorted money from daily paid workers, and local staff at the UN mission in Kosovo were forced to pay bribes or kickbacks to UN staff to secure employment.

In this new report, the defence team identifies 28 types of corruption that threaten peacekeeping. It also spells out ways in which the UN can play an important role in combatting corruption risk in peacekeeping operations.

The study recommends eight actions to the UN to meet the threat of corruption in peacekeeping missions, six of which are focused on developing policy, guidance and training for the UN, for Troop Contributing Countries and for the missions themselves. Another action stresses the urgent need for the UN to establish a more independent and robust oversight, investigation and whistleblowing capability.

By fighting corruption the UN, EU, NATO and other international organisations can make peacekeeping missions safer, more cost-effective and help countries transition to stability. Above all they can protect the citizens they are mandated to look after.

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Support Us

Power for Nigeria’s people

Bribery in electricity supply ruins livelihoods, but Nigeria’s residents are speaking out.

The terrible consequences of police corruption in South Africa

What do we do when those mandated to protect us are serving other interests than public safety and security? In South Africa, police corruption leaves the public exposed to high rates of crime, and causes distrust of the police service while allowing crime to flourish.

Why do DRC citizens report such high levels of corruption?

People's experiences with corruption in the DRC are far worse than in most other African countries. Why is corruption so prevalent in the DRC, why is bribery so commonplace and why do two thirds of citizens feel powerless?

Three ways to stop money laundering through real estate

Around the world, buying property is a favourite method for the corrupt to launder their ill-gotten gains. However, there are concrete measures that make it significantly more difficult for the corrupt to stash their dirty money in real estate.

Announcing the theme for the 19th edition of the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC)

Designing 2030: Truth, Trust & Transparency

Protecting Africa’s wildlife from corruption

When they deliberate over amendments to the global wildlife trade regime, CoP18 must address impunity for illegal timber trafficking in Africa as a matter of high priority.

How the US can help Mongolia get to grips with corruption

A series of bi-lateral meetings and a proposed trade agreement present an opportunity for the US to promote rule of law and an independent judiciary in Mongolia.

Blood diamonds and land corruption in Sierra Leone

A community in Sierra Leone has created powerful short videos documenting their experiences of corruption, forced evictions and a botched resettlement programme at the hands of a multinational diamond mining company.

Countries must be more transparent when investigating transnational corruption

Supervisory and justice systems should be transparent and accountable so that the public can assess their performance.

Resilient institutions

Reducing corruption is an important component of the sustainable development agenda, and one that all state parties have an obligation to address. Although corruption is often thought of as a ‘third-world problem’, institutions in the Global North play an important role in the corruption cycle, and are therefore an essential part of the solutions.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media