Anti-Corruption Day 2017: Empowering citizens’ fight against corruption

Anti-Corruption Day 2017: Empowering citizens’ fight against corruption

One of the most striking findings from Transparency International’s latest worldwide corruption survey, the Global Corruption Barometer, is that most people firmly believe in their own power to combat corruption.

Latin American and the Caribbean lead the pack in this regard, with 70% of citizens across the region saying that ordinary people can make a difference. That figure rises to over 80% in places like Brazil, Costa Rica and Paraguay, and around the world it is young people who most believe in their ability to create change.

A key part of Transparency International’s work is to help people hold their governments to account.

We remove obstacles that prevent people from accessing information or speaking out against wrong-doing, and work with governments to fix the laws and processes to make it easier for citizens to participate.

Our chapters around the world are the heroes in this battle for accountability.

The work they do is often not easy - or glamourous - and it can be a long and slow process to make the state more accountable to its citizens. 

Take the Maldives, where our national chapter was holding a training with the civil servants who process right to information requests. It turned out that lots of requests were being rejected due to an administrative mistake: a form required people to give the reason for request, even though this wasn’t legally necessary. Officers were rejecting applications based on the empty field in the form. It took Transparency International Maldives two years of lobbying to persuade the government to change that field to ‘optional’ on the form. It’s a small but important step, and it speaks volumes to the dedication and perseverance of our chapters.   

Or take Palestine where this year our National Chapter, AMAN, persuaded the Palestinian Authority to make public budgets and financial audit reports easily accessible online. The government also created a new and more transparent digital portal for the social welfare system – something AMAN and its partners in a coalition of civil society organisations had been advocating for. 

Over on our blog, we’ve recently featured a about how corruption was facilitating an illegal trade in wood from rare Mukula trees in Zambia. International organisations and companies work with the government there to provide alternative sources of livelihood for villagers and prevent deforestation, but people were often lacking information on the program they were joining. Our chapter in Zambia organised meetings to encourage villagers to make sure they also benefit and are treated as partners in a truly collaborative scheme.  

Women and land governance in Madagascar

Meanwhile in Madagascar, Transparency International Initiative Madagascar brought women’s land rights to the forefront of the public’s awareness with televised debates and a . They are campaigning to remove the stigma of women seeking to have their land rights recognised in a deeply patriarchal society. 

In Pakistan, our chapter discovered that in public hospitals in order to run their own private clinics. Pressure from our chapter led to the provincial authorities enforcing the law. Four months later, the people of Usta Muhammad told us that conditions in the government hospital were much better: doctors were no longer absent and were visiting patients regularly. 

Experience of a Whistleblower

And in Italy, our chapter played a key role in bringing a corrupt railway executive to justice in a historic case which also led to in the Italian parliament.

These are just a tiny sample of the victories our chapters have achieved around the world this year.

This anti-corruption day, consider how you can make a difference. Whether you report corruption that you have experienced, make a small but important gesture like signing our declaration against corruption or simply and help us spread the word, you can contribute to the difference our movement makes in the lives of ordinary people around the world.

And, if you would like to make a financial contribution to our work, we have a special Anti-Corruption Day 2017 Appeal which you can find here.

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No hay cambios en las percepciones pese a los avances en América

En los últimos años, América Latina y el Caribe lograron adelantos significativos en la lucha contra la corrupción. En muchos países de la región existen ahora leyes y mecanismos para contrarrestar este fenómeno, las investigaciones legales están avanzando y los movimientos ciudadanos anticorrupción han incrementado. Sin embargo, de acuerdo con el Índice de Percepción de la Corrupción (IPC) 2017, la región continúa con bajos puntajes.

A redefining moment for Africa

The newly released Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) provides a good baseline for the African Union (AU) anti-corruption efforts in 2018. This year’s theme for the AU is “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.” As the AU rolls out its plan, this is an important moment for Africa to take stock of the current situation.

Perceptions remain unchanged despite progress in the Americas

In the last few years, Latin America and the Carribbean made great strides in the fight against corruption. Laws and mechanisms exist to curb corruption, while legal investigations are advancing and citizen anti-corruption movements are growing in many countries across the region. However, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2017, the region continues to score poorly for corruption. How can we explain this contradiction?

Slow, Imperfect Progress across Asia Pacific

While no country in the Asia Pacific region scores a perfect 100, not even New Zealand or Singapore, which both experienced their share of scandals in the last year, our analysis reveals little progress across the region.

Europe and Central Asia: more civil engagement needed

In 2017, authoritarianism rose across Eastern and South East Europe, hindering anti-corruption efforts and threatening civil liberties. Across the region, civil society organisations and independent media experienced challenges in their ability to monitor and criticise decision-makers

Rampant Corruption in Arab States

In a region stricken by violent conflicts and dictatorships, corruption remains endemic in the Arab states while assaults on freedom of expression, press freedoms and civil society continue to escalate.

Digging deeper into corruption, violence against journalists and active civil society

To mark the release of the Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, we analysed corruption levels around the world and looked at how they relate to civil liberties – specifically, the ability of citizens to speak out in defence of their interests and the wider public good.

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