“We seek to put a stop to the impunity of the corrupt”

“We seek to put a stop to the impunity of the corrupt”

“We seek to put a stop to the impunity of the corrupt”

– Transparency International Managing Director Cobus de Swardt
   at the final session of the 15th IACC in Brasilia

At each International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), participants express their collective commitment to the fight against corruption through a conference declaration.

The 15th IACC declaration was based on the outputs of workshops and plenary sessions that took place in Brasilia between 7 and 10 November 2012. The declaration was produced over the four days of the Conference and read out by young people from Brazil and South Africa during the closing plenary. Read the 2012 Brasilia Declaration below.

The Brasilia Declaration

15th IACC, 10 November 2012

More than 1,900 people from 140 countries gathered in Brasilia to discuss one of the most pressing issues of our time: corruption in today’s world.

When the International Anti-Corruption Conference last met in Bangkok in 2010, the raging financial crisis made restoring trust an imperative. Since then, as a result of the lessons learned not being put into practice, the world has seen countless examples of trust abused.

Trust continues to be eroded. Many realise that in politics, in sport, in education, and in business, in local offices and global institutions, corruption denies them a voice, well-being and justice. Now more than ever we must bring corruption fighters together to create a more focused effort against the abuse of entrusted power.

Connecting citizens

People know they can make a difference when they come together in sufficient numbers and with a clear goal.

Citizens, acting in coordination, can more effectively challenge governments, corporations, financial institutions, sports bodies or international organisations that neglect their duty towards them.

By focusing on daily lives and concerns, efforts toward transparency and the fight against corruption empower people. The fight against corruption must mean more than the passing of new laws. It must mean the practice of transparency in day-by-day government activities; and its impact must be felt at every level of society and compel citizens to join forces.

The most vulnerable people in our society, often severely affected by corruption, must be able to hold leaders to their word, and to expose those who go back on promises. To do so they need access to information through a free press, unfettered Internet and other open pathways to inform the public and facilitate the fight against corruption.

Communities must be given the means to hold leaders and institutions accountable for their actions in between elections, as well as multinational companies that profit from operations in their country. We must develop ways to draw corporations into collective action against corruption.

Empowerment of civil society to review the distribution of aid and the extraction of minerals is a key element.

We must take more action to address the effects of corruption on the younger generations and on women since it is they who are disproportionately affected by corruption.

Secrecy in the world of money has meant trillions lost by developing countries. To restore their trust, transparency and accountability must be rooted in the financial system.

In the realm of sports, fans and sponsors, players and athletes need power over the bodies that run their sport. These bodies should be encouraged to lead by example by upholding basic principles of integrity.

“Don’t let them get away with it”

As we gathered this week to discuss issues of concern to all of us — politics and economics, development and sports, responses to climate change and the arms trade — it is clear we all face a common challenge in our work: impunity for those who abuse positions of power.

If impunity is not stopped, we risk the dissolution of the very fabric of society and the rule of law, our trust in our politics and our hope for social justice.

Activists, businesspeople, politicians, public officials, journalists, academics, youth and citizens who gathered in Brasilia to discuss the threat of corruption made it clear that impunity undermines integrity everywhere.

Whether we are investing collective efforts and resources in fighting poverty, human rights violations, climate change or bailing out indebted economies, we need to give the people a reason to believe that impunity will be stopped.

To take this important struggle forward the international anti-corruption community should promote greater people engagement and find ways to provide greater security for anti-corruption activists.

Reducing impunity also requires independent and well-resourced judiciaries that are accountable to the people they serve.

We call on leaders everywhere to embrace not only transparency in public life but a culture of transparency leading to a participatory society in which leaders are accountable.

We call on the anti-corruption movement to support and protect the activists, whistleblowers and journalists who speak out against corruption, often at great risk.

It is up to all of us in government, business and society to embrace transparency so that it ensures full participation of all people, bringing us together to send a clear message: We are watching those who act with impunity and we will not let them get away with it.

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