[Human Rights] HRC / 22nd Session, Panel discussion on the negative impact of corruption on the enjoyment human rights, Statement by the EU
Thank you Mr. President,
The European Union welcomes the holding of this panel debate on the negative impact of corruption on the enjoyment of human rights and we thank the panellists for their interesting presentations.
Corruption comes in many forms. It can affect all levels of government and public services as well as the private sector. Corruption subverts the rule of law and standards of good governance, hinders the effectiveness of public policies, perverts the course of justice and leads to the waste of scarce public resources. Corruption undermines states’ capabilities to protect the human rights of their citizens or can be a direct feature of human rights violations.
The European Union is committed to contributing actively to the fight against corruption, domestically for example via the European Anti-Fraud Office (a.k.a. OLAF) and internationally in supporting the work of the relevant international organisations, primarily the UNODC and in the framework of UNCAC. Several EU member states are also parties to the International Anti-Corruption Academy.
The European Union is convinced that free and independent media, clear legislation against corrupt practices and an effective and independent judiciary are the best defences against corruption. The VDPA, whose 20th anniversary we celebrate this year, highlights the interdependence of all human rights and the inter-relatedness of human rights, rule of law and democracy.
We are convinced that open, transparent and accountable government is best suited to withstand the pervasive nature of corruption. Opaque power structures and a lack of democratic accountability create ideal conditions for corruption to flourish. The European Union is concerned about countries, where corruption has become endemic, where indeed corruption has almost become a system of governance.
Where corruption is used as a system of patronage and for the preservation of undemocratic power structures, human rights are usually violated on a massive scale. In such countries, even the ostentatious fight against corruption can be abused to persecute government critics and human rights defenders on trumped up charges.
The European Union condemns acts of intimidation, harassment, violence and even murder that are used in some countries to silence courageous anti-corruption activists and journalists who try to uncover corruption by public officials or organised crime.
Could the panellists elaborate on how the Human Rights Council can – in close cooperation with other parts of the UN system, in particular UNODC – best contribute to protect the victims of corruption and strengthen the rights of human rights defenders, journalists and anti-corruption activists who may risk their lives in the fight against corruption?