Today is International Anti-Corruption Day. UN convention against corruption was passed on 31st October 2002. The day was first observed in 2003.
The Convention states, in part, that the UN is:
"concerned about the seriousness of problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of societies, undermining the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice and jeopardizing sustainable development and the rule of law "
and delegates to the Convention the power to:
"promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively... promote, facilitate and support international cooperation and technical assistance in the prevention of and fight against corruption… [and] promote integrity, accountability and proper management of public affairs and public property…"
Corruption is defined as
- the act of corrupting or state of being corrupt
- moral perversion; depravity
- dishonesty, esp bribery
- putrefaction or decay
- alteration, as of a manuscript
- an altered form of a word
Corruption involves at least two individuals or two parties wherein one side bribes the other side to either to get an illegal job done or get a legal job done in one's favor or expeditiously. The general perception is that one of the two sides is the government employee(s). It is wrong. Both sides can be non-government. It is the misuse of one’s position of authority by one side which enables/forces the other side to bribe the former to obtain undue favor(s). At individual level, this can be in the form of selection to a position, out of turn promotion, change of one’s position from one of lesser authority to the one with more authority, posting from one location to the other and so on. These forms of corruption occur both in the private and the public sector. At corporate level the corruption can be in the form of finding out the bids of one’s competitors and becoming the lowest bidder, to obtain a contract despite being technically and professionally unqualified or less qualified for the same, getting the completion date extended, getting the bid price revised during the course of execution of a contract, using low quality material to execute a contract with the connivance of the supervisory or monitoring and evaluation staff and so on. Corruption is also prevalent in international politics where the diplomats or concerned representatives of a country are bribed by the diplomats or representative of other country(ies) to achieve the political results in one’s favor.
Corruption in all its forms is like a termite or cancer which eats up the very fabric of a society, organization or a country from within. It results in incompetence, injustice and degradation of morals. Prevalence of corruption is the root cause of all countries falling under the category of third world. Corruption starts from the top and it are the rulers of the third world countries whose corrupt practices keep their countries among the third world. The money required to be spent for development and welfare of masses is stashed away by the corrupt mafia and neither of the two noble objectives can be achieved. Current era of terrorism has added another dimension to the negative effects of corrupt practices of the rulers and the mafia associated with them. This mafia use the money laundering to secure their ill gotten wealth and the same money falls in the hands of the terrorists.
There is a need for the UN to introduce measures by which the corrupt rulers can be taken to task ensuring that such measures are not used as tools by the other countries to extract their individual vested interests. United Nations Development Program and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes started a campaign with the name of Your No Counts in 2009 to awareness among masses. Focus of the campaign has been on how corruption hinders efforts to achieve the internationally agreed upon Millennium Development Goals, undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to human rights violations, distorts markets, erodes quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish.
There is a need for the masses of the third world countries not to elect corrupt rulers and resist against the corrupt dictators. The developed world also needs to play its role such that third world countries are not ruled by the corrupt rulers so that these countries also move upward in the category of the developed world.