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Corruption is present in all countries and must be tackled – UN chief says

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Yury Fedotov

Millions of people around the world have gone to the ballots this year with corruption as one of their top priorities, UN Secretary General António Guterres, has said.
Guteres, speaking on the occasion of this year’s anticorruption day, called on the international community to ‘take a stand for integrity.’
‘’Corruption is present in all countries, rich and poor, North and South, he said. ‘’It is an assault on the values of the United Nations.
‘’It robs societies of schools, hospitals and other vital services, drives away foreign investment and strips nations of their natural resources.
‘’It undermines the rule of law and abets crimes such as the illicit trafficking of people, drugs and arms.
‘’Tax evasion, money laundering and other illicit flows divert much-needed resources for sustainable development.
‘’The World Economic Forum estimates that the cost of corruption is at least $2.6 trillion – or 5 per cent of global gross domestic product.
‘’And according to the World Bank, businesses and individuals pay more than $1 trillion in bribes each year.
‘’Corruption begets more corruption, and fosters a corrosive culture of impunity.
‘’The United Nations Convention against Corruption is among our primary tools for advancing the fight.
‘’Sustainable Development Goal 16 and its targets also offer a template for action.
‘’Through the Convention’s peer review mechanism, we can work together to build a foundation of trust and accountability. We can educate and empower citizens, promote transparency and strengthen international cooperation to recover stolen assets.’’
Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, YuryFedotov, who spoke in Geneva on the occasion of the World Human Rights day, called on the international community stand up against human trafficking.
He said: ‘’If we are to stand up for equality, justice and human dignity for all, we must also stop those who would rob people of their rights, and who threaten peace and sustainable development – human traffickers and migrant smugglers who treat human beings as commodities; organized criminal groups trafficking deadly drugs and weapons; terrorists who kill indiscriminately and enslave women, men and children.
‘’At the same time, responses to these threats and violations must themselves respect human rights and the rule of law. Crime prevention and criminal justice systems must be fair and humane if they are to effectively address the challenges of drugs, crime, terrorism and corruption in line with international commitments and law.
‘’The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the international drug control conventions, the global counter-terrorism instruments and the United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice represent an essential framework to tackle threats, stop violence, ensure access to justice, promote health and sustainable development, and make the world safer.
‘’On the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reaffirm our commitment to advancing justice and the rule of law. Working together, we can promote rights-based and gender-responsive action to prevent violations, protect victims and leave no one behind.’’