Corruption affects countries around the world. Its forms and impact may vary, but the results are corrosive nonetheless, undermining democracy, stifling economies, thwarting justice, diverting resources, and ruining the futures of nations.
“The moral and practical costs of corruption are no longer debatable,” said Secretary of State John Kerry in a written statement.“Corruption drives instability, popular protests, and revolutions. In some cases, these popular movements produce democratic reform, but in other cases they produce a power vacuum or an authoritarian backlash. Frustration with corruption can also drive insurgency movements and be exploited by terrorist groups to gain popular support. And the proceeds of corruption — which are often sheltered in banks or shell corporations in Western Europe and the United States - enable terrorist financing and sustain unaccountable regimes.”
And that is why the United States is using every tool at its disposal to advance its anti-corruption agenda.
“Addressing corruption is tough, but we are using a range of tools – and often working with other states and international institutions – to encourage and assist anti-corruption activity,” said Under Secretary of State For Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall. So we are pressing other states to live up to the international anti-corruption commitments they’ve made. The United States is also enforcing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and providing some 600 million dollars a year to build the capacity of foreign governments to combat corruption.
Still, said Under Secretary Sewall, the biggest factor in the success or failure of anti-corruption efforts is a matter of political will on the part of governments: the willingness to use the power of the law against the biggest violators, regardless of who they are or what political party they support.
“We renew our notice to kleptocrats around the world: continued theft from your communities will not be tolerated and the international community is committed to denying safe haven to you and your illicit assets,” wrote Secretary Kerry.
“We call on partners in government, civil society, and the private sector, to join us in fighting corruption. We also call on countries undergoing democratic transition to redouble their efforts to build governments that are accountable to citizens and respect the rule of law.”