The Centre sets out its priorities for the UN Special Session Against Corruption

Published on 03 Sep 2020, 04:21 PM

The first intersessional meeting in preparation of the UNGASS took place from 2 to 4 September 2020

In 2018, the General Assembly adopted resolution 73/191 entitled “Special session of the General Assembly against corruption”, in which it decided to convene a special session on challenges and measures to prevent and combat corruption and strengthen international cooperation. This UNGASS will take place in June 2021. 

In preparation of this UNGASS, civil society had the possibility to submit written statements. The Centre submitted a joint statement with International State Crime Initiative, focusing on a few priority issues.

In order to ensure an inclusive preparatory process, three intersessional meetings will be held. The first one took place from 2 to 4 September 2020, in the form of a hybrid meeting. It focused on prevention, criminalisation and law enforcement. The Centre participated remotely, and presented a statement outlining our priorities in this process. 

"Linkages between all the international agendas - SDGs, human rights conventions, and the UNCAC - are critical for small island states with limited capacity. "

- Representative of Samoa during the first intersessional meeting

Our priorities in preparation of the UNGASS

In our oral statement, the Centre referred to three priorities:

  • It is crucial that human rights perspectives are included in the discussions. Acts of petty and grand corruption affect people and communities in different ways. They may amount to prohibited forms of discrimination or directly violate individual and collective rights. Pervasive corruption weakens the accountability structures that protect human rights, contributing to impunity and impeding law enforcement. Corruption also negatively impacts collective rights. Combating corruption is particularly important for ensuring the empowerment, participation and protection of people who are members of vulnerable or marginalised groups. A human rights-based approach of corruption focuses on the victims of corruption and State responsibility.
  • A human rights-based approach of corruption focuses on the victims of corruption and State responsibility, and takes into account the international standards that are expressed by the UN Treaty Bodies. This includes, among others, the strengthening of effective institutions, legislation on access to information, the criminalisation of corruption-related offenses, and whistleblower protection. 
  • Meaningful participation of independent civil society should be guaranteed during the whole process.

Read our written contribution and our full statement here. 

Other statements

More than 30 diplomatic missions took the floor during the first intersessional meeting. Many of them made remarks about the ongoing pandemic, that exacerbated widespread corruption and existing inequalities. The delegation of Samoa was the only State delegation that refered to the fact that all international agendas should be linked. There should be complementarity between the Sustainable Development Goals, the human rights conventions, and the fight against corruption. This is especially critical for small island states, that have limited capacity. 

Other stakeholders included Transparency International, UNCAC Coalition, Article 19, the international anti-corruption academy and others. Their focus was on transparency, grand corruption, impunity, asset recovery, beneficial ownership and others. 

Next steps

The next intersessional meetings will take place in November 2020, focusing on asset recovery, and February 2021, thematic focus to be determined. Both are hybrid meetings, allowing for live participation in Vienna, and remotely through an online platform. The UNGASS itself is planned for June 2021 in New York.  

Rules of Procedure of the Human Rights Committee

Rules of Procedure of the Human Rights Committee CCPR/C/3/Rev.10

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CCPR NGO Participation

Documents adopted by the Human Rights Committee (March 2012)

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CCPR NHRI Participation

Documents adopted by the Human Rights Committee (November 2012)

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