Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen: Corruption is one of the worst enemies of democracy, sustainable development and market economy
“Corruption is one of the worst enemies of democracy, sustainable development and market economy. Corruption jeopardises the safety of societies, weakens democracy, increases inequalities, slows down economic development, and erodes the rule of law,” said Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen when speaking at the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption in Vienna today.
“History shows that corruption can, at its worst, feed arbitrary social order and destroy citizens’ opportunities to improve their standard of living and social status.”
According to Häkkänen, Finland actively contributes to the anti-corruption efforts of the UN and supports the strong role that the EU has adopted in the fight against corruption. Häkkänen reminded that corruption undermines the fundamental values of an open society and jeopardises the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“Finland supports a multilateral and rules-based international order. Anti-corruption work is an integral part of the multilateral international cooperation supporting the global advances in the areas of peace, democracy, freedom and economic growth. International cooperation and pressure have a key role in the fight against corruption. The UN Sustainable Development Goals, for example, cannot be achieved unless we manage to combat corruption and establish institutions that support the rule of law,” Häkkänen stressed.
“Corruption must not gain a foothold in Finland. Even though international studies show that Finland is a country with a low level of corruption, investments in anti-corruption efforts are very important also here,” Häkkänen said.
Häkkänen told that Finland is in the process of drafting a national anti-corruption strategy.
“The first national anti-corruption strategy of our country aims to consistently reinforce institutional structures and capacities, increase awareness and transparency, promote research and detection, and ensure that corruption-related legislation is adequate.”
An active civil society and free media play a crucial role in the fight against corruption.
Minister Häkkänen emphasised that Finland has benefited greatly from the recommendations issued during the first country review cycle of the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption. The review group drew up an evaluation report concerning Finland in 2011.
The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) entered into force internationally in 2005. Finland acceded to the Convention in 2006.
The Convention is the first global anti-corruption instrument. Its obligations relate to bribery offences and certain other corruption offences, such as money laundering. The Convention includes provisions on the prevention of corruption, criminalisation, international cooperation and expert assistance as well as recovery of assets received through corruption. Altogether 183 states have acceded to the Convention.
In Vienna, Minister Häkkänen will meet representatives of the Austrian Government, the Russian Minister of Justice, the Ukrainian Minister of Justice, the Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, and the Secretary General of the OSCE, among others.
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