Transparency International described corruption as “a plague which destroys lives, communities and countries, and feeds armed conflicts and wars”, during the opening in Brazil of the 15th International Anti Corruption Conference.
Canadian academic and TI president Huguette Labelle said at the opening of the event on Wednesday that corruption is the great menace for mankind and implicitly calling on the ‘example’ of Brazil in “combating impunity”.
Although there was no direct allusion, Ms Labelle seemed to be referring to the strong position of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff who was at the opening and who in her almost two years in office sacked at least six ministers allegedly involved in corrupt activities.
Ms Labelle was also referring to the recent ‘trial of the century’ in Brazil in which the ruling Workers party is involved since several of its main leaders have been found guilty of gross irregularities committed during the first mandate of ex president Lula da Silva who is also the mentor and political godfather of President Rousseff.
Of the 36 on trial, 25 have been found guilty including a former cabinet chief, two top members of the Workers party (president and treasurer) and ten leaders from another four political parties that support the current coalition.
Before the 1.400 delegates from 135 countries at the conference, Brazilian president Rousseff guaranteed that combating corruption in the country has become “State policy” and for that purpose counts with ‘powerful tools’.
Rousseff also praised the role played by politics in democratic open societies and called on public opinion not to put in the same bag parties, honest politicians and the corrupt. “Combating corruption must not and should not be used to attack the credibility of political action which is the foundation of all democratic societies”, underlined Rousseff.
“The anti corruption speech can’t be confused with the speech against politics or against the State which serves other interests”, added the Brazilian president who then underlined the significant role played by a free press in the control of institutions and government.
“Even when there are excesses and they exist in all walks of life, it will always be preferable to listen the rumbling of a free press to the silence of dictatorship graves”, insisted Rousseff pointing out that “the anticorruption combat is the struggle for more and more democracy”.
With the theme “Mobilising people: Connecting agents of change”, the four-day conference in Brasilia is expected to address innovative solutions in over 50 workshop and plenary sessions of how to take the fight against corruption forward in five key areas: ending impunity, clean climate governance, preventing illicit financial flows, political transitions leading to stable and transparent governments and clean sports.
Minister Jorge Hage Sobrinho, Comptroller General of Brazil said: Corruption is one of the greatest threats to mankind inasmuch as it hampers development, weakens trust, and so democracy, and harms in the most perverse way those who are in most need of State assistance. We are very proud that Brazil was chosen to host this Conference due to recognition of the importance we have given to the fight against corruption and of the leadership role Brazil has adopted in this subject.
The 15th International Anti-Corruption Conference promises to be the most effective, the most innovative yet – the best. said Justice Barry O’Keefe, Chair of the IACC Council. The cream of the world’s anti-corruption movement has joined together to bring about change for a better world, a world in which corruption is anathema.
Joining forces to fight corruption is especially important in current times, as Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International reminded the audience: Growing threats and restrictions of civil society space around the world are a source of great concern. Civil society organisations play an essential role in the fight against corruption as they are best suited to give a voice to the victims.
Jorge Sanchez, Chair of Amarribo Transparency International’s National Contact in Brazil added: Therefore, the main goal of the conference is to inspire people from all over the world to act against corruption.