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Caritas is joining other faith-based aid agencies and religious leaders in calling for action on stamping out global corruption.
In a letter to the UN Secretary General, over 50 faith leaders and agency directors say corruption is a major cause of poverty in developing countries and a major barrier to overcoming it. They say both rich and poor countries have a responsibility to overcome it.
In 2003, the United Nations General Assembly signed the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). It was the first global treaty ever that provides a framework to harmonise anti-corruption efforts worldwide.
This week the UNCAC Working Group on a Review Mechanism meet in Vienna, Austria to look at progress so far ahead of a summit in Doha in November.
Over 50 religious leaders and heads of faith-based organisations including Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight called on delegates working on the review to turn UNCAC from well intentioned effort to effective tool in wiping out corruption.
In the letter to the UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon, the group said, “Corruption is at the heart of people’s experience of poverty. For poor communities, corrupt practices constitute an insurmountable barrier to quality education, affordable healthcare and decent livelihoods. Corruption steals opportunity and hope.”
Two elements essential for a robust and credible review mechanism are transparency and the participation of civil society.
The letter said, “A review mechanism that is founded upon the principles of transparency and civil society participation will send a clear signal to poor communities that to those they have entrusted power and responsibility are ready and willing to end the scourge of corruption for the benefit of all.”
Other signatories include Bishop Francisco Joao Silota of Chimoio , Mozambique; Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Anglican Church of Kenya; Dr. Mustafa Ali, Secretary General, African Council of Religious Leaders-Religions for Peace; Bishop John Rawsthorne of Hallam, England and Wales; Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi of the Assembly of Masorti Synagogues.
Meanwhile, Caritas Europa has joined a group 14 faith based organisations in their call to the EU to strongly support the forthcoming review of the UN Convention Against Corruption.
Further reading: “Controlling Corruption – A Challenge for Cooperative Development Work”, by Georg Cremer, Secretary-General, Caritas Germany