By: Lailuma Noori
KABUL: Marking International Anti-Corruption Day, the United Nations reiterated its support to Afghanistan’s initiatives to fight corruption, acknowledges steps made to challenge impunity and highlights the pressing need for demonstrable progress in countering the blight.
“The United Nations welcomes the legislative, policy and institutional improvements that strengthen Afghanistan’s framework to fight corruption,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan as quoted in a UN statement here yesterday. “However, corruption continues to affect Afghan citizens’ daily lives and erode public confidence in government institutions; it is therefore crucial to focus now on implementing the laws and holding to account those who break them to demonstrate resolve to counter corruption.”
The United Nations has supported Afghanistan’s steps to fight corruption, including through the new Penal Code, the Access to Information Law, the Anti-corruption Law and the 2017 Anti-Corruption Strategy. In close collaboration with international partners, the United Nations provided advisory, capacity-building and mentoring support to the Anti-Corruption Justice Centre (ACJC), which was established in 2016, the statement added.
The United Nations acknowledges the difficult security situation in which judges and prosecutors operate and condemns targeted killing of justice officials. While the ACJC has been adjudicating corruption cases, the United Nations notes that the Centre has yet to serve as an effective deterrent to high-level corruption. Outstanding arrest warrants and summonses related to corruption investigations, along with corresponding travel bans, are yet to be enforced. And many convicts have yet to be arrested to serve their sentences.
The United Nations in Afghanistan maintains that by standing united against corruption with national partners in further implementing existing measures to fight corruption, and by developing new strategies, we are together standing up for justice, protecting the rule of law and increasing the chances that prosperity in the country can be enjoyed by all.
“Strengthening efforts to eradicate corruption while also promoting good governance are essential for Afghanistan,” said Mark Colhoun, Afghanistan’s Country Representative for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). “To win the fight against corruption is to create the conditions necessary to effectively combat poverty and the inequalities that stem from it.”
As guardian of the UN Convention against Corruption, UNODC helps all State parties, including Afghanistan, translate the Convention into effective action and advance the global anti-corruption agenda. An important part of this is assisting preparations for the first-ever UN General Assembly special session against corruption in 2021. The UN family in Afghanistan – including UNAMA, UNODC and the UN Development Program – remains committed to supporting Afghanistan’s corruption reforms, in particular through the drafting of a new long-term anti-corruption strategy that builds on previous successes, the statement added. The statement said that corruption impacts the lives of ordinary citizens each and every day, adding the UN will continue to support the work of the High Council for Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption, the new Ombud institution, the Access to information Commission, the Attorney General’s Office and grassroots movements across all segments of society to rebuild integrity, accountability and transparency in the country.
At an event in Kabul today, the United Nations, together with national and international partners, marked International Anti-Corruption Day, which has been observed annually on 9 December since the passage of the UN Convention Against Corruption on 31 October 2003, according to the statement.