Secretary Kerry on International Anti-Corruption Day

U.S. Welcomes International Anticorruption Day

On this day, International Anticorruption Day, the United States reiterates its commitment to working with its partners to combat the scourge of corruption. The moral and practical costs of corruption are no longer debatable. Corruption drives instability, popular protests, and revolutions. In some cases, these popular movements produce democratic reform, but in other cases they produce a power vacuum or an authoritarian backlash. Frustration with corruption can also drive insurgency movements and be exploited by terrorist groups to gain popular support. And the proceeds of corruption — which are often sheltered in banks or shell corporations in Western Europe and the United States — enable terrorist financing and sustain unaccountable regimes. Put simply, corruption endangers U.S. national security.

That is why the United States is using a variety of tools, including bilateral diplomacy, multilateral engagement, enforcement, and capacity building assistance, to advance our anticorruption agenda. Through initiatives such as the Ukraine and Arab Forums on Asset Recovery, we help build capacity to ensure motivated governments have the ability, and in some cases, the resources to effectively combat corruption.

Beyond providing technical assistance, we also work to generate the political will to respond to corruption by creating trade incentives for reform, celebrating good performers in venues like the Open Government Partnership, and supporting citizen organizations, journalists, and prosecutors holding public officials accountable. We will also continue to lead by example, including through U.S. enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, cooperation on asset recovery, use of our visa authorities, and our work to enhance open government domestically.

The broad subscription to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) by 174 governments, as well as wide adherence to the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials, create a shared road map for reform and reflect the firmly established principle that corruption is no longer permissible.

Today, we call on partners in government, civil society, and the private sector, to join us in fighting corruption. We also call on countries undergoing democratic transition to redouble their efforts to build governments that are accountable to citizens and respect the rule of law. Advanced economies, like the United States, should continue to guard against our financial systems becoming havens for the proceeds of corruption, and to ensure that our companies do not pay bribes overseas. And today, we renew our notice to kleptocrats around the world: continued theft from your communities will not be tolerated and the international community is committed to denying safe haven to you and your illicit assets.