The landmark signing ceremony of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) will take place in Merida, Mexico between 9-11 December 2003. In order to commemorate this historic event and at the behest of Transparency International the UN General Assembly has decided to designate 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day.UNCAC was adopted by the General Assembly on 31 October 2003 after a three year effort by 129 countries. It reflects the global consensus on the need for an international legal system to fight corruption. The significance of this accomplishment is made clear by recalling that two decades ago a similar effort collapsed amidst bitter recriminations between industrialized and developing countries.
UNCAC provides a comprehensive framework for dealing with domestic and foreign bribery in the public and private sectors and for technical assistance and information exchange. It addresses glaring inadequacies in two of the most critical tools for combating international corruption: mutual legal assistance and repatriation of funds sent abroad by corrupt officials. It prohibits extortion by public officials, thereby complementing the effort of the 1997 OECD Convention, which prohibits companies from bribing foreign officials.
It is hoped that signatories would issue statements regarding their commitments to its ratification, entry-into-force and eventual implementation. Four side events will also be held, including one on the role of civil society and the media that will be addressed by TI Chairman Peter Eigen, among others. TI is also planning an informal meeting on follow-up work on the Convention, including advocacy and monitoring work.
Unfortunately TISL regrets to note that Sri Lanka has been one of the few countries that has failed to make any contribution to the development of this Convention. In the past TISL had requested both the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to engage in the drafting process of this important convention.
At this point we would like to appeal to the government of Sri Lanka to take an initiative and ratify the Convention in order to display its commitment to fight corruption. The government of Sri Lanka needs to give highest priority to combat corruption and join the other members of the international community in their sincere attempt to eradicate corruption.