Spotlight: Shifting global views on tackling corruption

2016-09-08

Corruption is not just an economic crime; it has devastating social and political consequences as well. It drives inequality and robs nations of resources.

‘Corruption is a catalyst for migration and terrorism and fuels injustice and deprivation’, says Anton du Plessis, Executive Director of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). ‘It may be the biggest and most neglected human rights challenge of our time’. 

This was du Plessis’ key message to the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights during a special seating on 31 August in Brussels. The ISS is recognised as a leading organisation that is able to bring African views to global debates.

Du Plessis was invited to inform and help improve European parliamentary responses to corruption and human rights abuses. In his presentation, du Plessis stressed that corruption is not just an African problem, but a global problem requiring global responses.

Corruption is a catalyst for migration and terrorism and fuels injustice

‘In all aspects of our work in Africa, we see how corruption causes human rights abuses, organised crime, extremism and migration’, says du Plessis. ‘That is why we’re using a multipronged approach to engage and inform stakeholders like the African Union, the business sector and international decision makers’.

Du Plessis, a World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader and a member of the WEF Global Agenda Council on Fragility, Violence and Conflict, has been advocating for a new approach to tackling corruption at various international policy forums.

At the WEF on Africa conference in Kigali in May, he argued that corruption is Africa’s biggest challenge. Current global anti-corruption efforts are not effective enough and developed nations need to do more to ensure they aren’t aggravating the problem in Africa.

The European Parliament is a key policy-making forum, and as a donor and bilateral partner, the European Union can support programmes that deal with corruption in Africa.

The current global anti-corruption framework relies primarily on consensus-based treaty approaches. While good progress has been made, the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) is not achieving the impact required. States must be legally obliged to act against corruption using a broad range of tools, as is the case with human rights abuses.

‘By joining the moral and legal dots between corruption, human rights abuses and international crimes, the international community can give the UNCAC more muscle’, says du Plessis. ‘A rights-based approach is also a good strategy for African and European governments. Less corruption means greater political stability and sustained social and economic development’. 

For more information, contact:

Anton du Plessis, ISS:  +27 787813619, aduplessis@issafrica.org

Picture: ©Stuart Price/AU-UN IST

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