December 9, 2007
Monique Perry Danziger, +1 202 293 0740 ext. 222
On Fourth Annual International Anti-Corruption Day, Global Financial Integrity Urges Legislative, Executive Action to Combat Corruption
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, as countries around the world observe International Anti-Corruption Day, Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization Global Financial Integrity (GFI) calls upon the President and Congress to take a critical step against corrupt government officials by mandating that corruption be among the criteria used in compiling the annual State Department Country Report on Human Rights.
“Despite increased efforts by the U.S. and other countries, many poor and developing nations remain plagued by endemic corruption, which undermines foreign aid,” said Global Financial Integrity Director, Raymond Baker. Including corruption in the annual State Department review of human rights abuses around the globe “is crucial to making an official link between egregious official corruption and human rights abuse. This step will put additional pressure on regimes that facilitate the bribery, theft and malfeasance which strip money out of developing and transitional economies and perpetuate human suffering,” Baker concluded.
Adding egregious official corruption criteria to the human rights report will demonstrate that the United States takes seriously its obligations under the U.N. Convention Against Corruption, which the Senate ratified in October 2006. Further, it would be consistent with the administration’s “No Safe Haven” policy, initiated in January 2004, which prohibits corrupt government officials from entering the United States.
GFI estimates that for every $1 of foreign aid that goes into a developing nation, $10 exits by way of corruption, corporate graft, and other forms of illicit capital flight abetted by dishonest officials. “Corruption undermines the goals of foreign aid and, by bringing to light the governments that abuse the public trust, the U.S. can play a key role in making aid programs more effective,” insists Baker.
Global Financial Integrity works in coordination with governments, corporations, think tanks, and non-governmental groups to push for the curtailment of illegal cross-border financial flows. Raymond Baker, a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy and Director of GFI, is an internationally respected authority on corruption, money laundering, economic growth and foreign policy issues, particularly as they concern developing and transitional economies. He has written and spoken extensively, testified often before Senate and House committees, been quoted worldwide, and has commented frequently on television and radio in the United States, Europe and Asia including appearances on Nightline, CNN, BBC, NPR and Four Corners, among others.