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Legislators in Brazil Poised to Strengthen Fight Against Corruption

Positive work can sometimes be overshadowed amidst civil unrest. After a night where civil society in Brazil took to the streets to demand greater accountability of their government and a stronger fight against corruption, legislators from that very country were gathering in the National Congress to officially launch GOPAC Brazil.

It was clear during the meeting that the multi-party legislators understood that to succeed they would need to work not only with each other but also with all members of society in Brazil. “We want the participation of society showing the way,” said newly elected Chair, Rep Antonio Carlos Mendes Thame. “With the consciousness of society, we can have positive results and be capable of reaping rewards.”

In addition to the launch, the new GOPAC members participated in a workshop on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) which Brazil ratified in 2005.

Through this workshop our members gained a greater understanding of the convention and how to ensure its government is living up to its commitments.

We congratulate Rep Mendes Thame and Vice-Chair Humberto Costa who have taken on the task of leading this eager group of legislators. They are joined on the executive by five regional Vice-Chairs: Rep Perpétua Almeida, Rep Efraim Filho, Rep Alfredo Sirkis, Rep Luiz Pitmann, Rep Osmar Serraglio; and the following members of the executive: Rep Francisco Praciano, Rep Rubens Bueno, Rep Felipe Maia, Rep Nelson Marchezan Junior, Rep Nelson Pelegrino.

We commend our new members in Brazil and GOPAC Latin America and the Caribbean for growing the anti-corruption movement and helping build an even stronger coalition to fight corruption around the world. GOPAC Brazil marks our sixth chapter in the region.

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SEAPAC Launches New Website

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New GOPAC Chapter in Ukraine

On 3 June, legislators from the Parliament of Ukraine gathered to launch GOPAC Ukraine. The group, representing all parties in parliament, took this opportunity to elect an executive committee as well as layout their main objectives.

The members committed to forming an effective anti-corruption agenda in Ukraine and more specifically the Parliament of Ukraine. In addition, they committed to promoting the implementation of international mechanisms to strengthen the fight against corruption in Ukraine.

They also committed to creating a platform for communication for influential legislators from all parties to counter corruption in Ukraine.

GOPAC is pleased to welcome this new chapter and is committed to helping GOPAC Ukraine meet their goals and beyond. GOPAC Ukraine is one of the first chapters in the region and we look forward to numerous countries following suite in this noble fight.

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New GOPAC Chapter in Serbia

Legislators in Serbia took a stand against corruption on 30 May as they gathered at the National Assembly in Belgrade, Serbia for the official launch of GOPAC Serbia. As part of the meetings, the new members elected Zoran Babic as the Chair of the newly formed chapter. Mr. Babic was joined on the executive by Vice-Chair Olgica Batic and Secretary Stefana Miladinovic.

The meeting was well attended and revealed a strong support for the new chapter. Serbian Speaker of Parliament, Nebojsa Stefanovic, spoke on corruption in Serbia and encouraged members to promote the laws and tools necessary for parliament to lead the fight against corruption.

In addition, William Infante, a representative from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Serbia, was supportive of the new chapter and was encouraged that Serbia would now have a cohesive group of parliamentarians leading the fight.

GOPAC is encouraged by the growth of new chapters in the past month. We commend the new members for their commitment to not only fighting corruption but also to improving the lives of citizens in Serbia and around the world.

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Strengthening whistleblower protection: an international imperative

Whistleblowers play an important though often risky role in exposing corruption. They need better protection from retaliation and greater recognition for their achievements.

Corruption by its nature is secret and to expose it often requires ordinary people who witness wrongdoing to speak out about it. This can endanger lives and livelihoods, which is why strong whistleblower protection laws are indispensable. If no one is going to protect you for doing the right thing, why expose yourself to being fired, defamed, blacklisted, attacked or even killed?

The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) recognises the importance of whistleblower protection and reporting channels. However, many of the 167 countries that have ratified the Convention still lack adequate legal protections, or the means and will to use them to protect and empower whistleblowers.

Transparency International established internationally accepted guidelines to strengthen whistleblower protection in countries that have signed the UNCAC.

Last week the Implementation Review Group (IRG) established by the United Nations to monitor how the UNCAC is being implemented, met in Vienna. We are now in the third year since the UNCAC introduced a monitoring mechanism to produce reports about how well countries are implementing their commitments under the Convention. The IRG’s job is to evaluate the results of the review process and make recommendations to the Conference of States Parties that will meet in November in Panama.

Full article

This article was provided by Transparency International (TI) and was originally published on the TI blog. TI, a global movement consisting of the International Secretariat in Berlin and more than 100 TI national chapters, aspires to enhance the impact of the global movement against corruption. Leading the global fight against corruption on the international stage and at the country level, TI is active in a number of regional and national anti-corruption bodies and processes, including, but not limited to, the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).

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Guyana Partnership with GOPAC Canada

In June, four members of Guyana’s Public Accounts Committee attended a four-day training exercise in Ottawa, Canada to explore ways of strengthening the estimates process for the annual budget.

The delegation, a multi-party group, included Bibi Shadick, Manzoor Nadir, Volda Lawrence and Trevor Williams. Sonia Maxwell, Clerk of Committees attached to the Economic Services Committee, also accompanied the delegation.

During their visit, the delegation had the opportunity to witness, firsthand, the Canadian system.

They attended a sitting of the Senate Committee of Finance, the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts where they witnessed a state organization testifying before the committee. In addition, the delegation participated in a dialogue with GOPAC Canada members regarding the estimates process in each country.

The Guyanese delegates showed great interest in GOPAC and have expressed the intention of starting a GOPAC chapter in their country.

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Anti-Money Laundering Workshop in Indonesia

The GOPAC national chapter in Indonesia called on parliamentarians to take a more active role in strengthening the anti-money laundering regime and Indonesia’s political financing laws at a national workshop held in Jakarta, on 13 June 2013. The event welcomed over 50 parliamentarians from across party lines to discuss challenges facing Indonesia anti-money laundering and political finance legislation.

Dr. Anung, chapter Chair, spoke about political financing and the need for the Government to address current issues of compliance with the Financial Action Task Force standards.

In addition, Dr. Anung was joined by Congresswomen Bernadette Herrera-Dy, Philippines member of SEAPAC who spoke on anti-money laundering laws in the Philippines, and Shawn Murphy, GOPAC Canada member, who also spoke about political financing and shared with the delegates the Canadian experience.

This workshop was in line with their goal to strengthen anti-money laundering Laws as set out in the chapter’s action plan. In addition, as part of their commitment to the fight corruption, Indonesia will be hosting the General Assembly of South East Asia Parliamentarians Against Corruption in Medan, 23-24 October 2013.

Copyright © 2013 Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), All rights reserved.
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