HRC37: The solution to corruption is more transparency – UN must act now

This afternoon, Right Livelihood Award Laureate Khadija Ismayilova addressed global corruption and it’s solutions during the 37th session of the UN Human Right Council this afternoon. Transparency and good governance are necessary to fight the kleptocrats. Currently under a travel ban, her speech was pre-recorded on video. Once again, Khadija has proven that the Azeri authorities can’t silence her and that the truth will be revealed.

Khadija received the 2017 Right Livelihood Award “for her courage and tenacity in exposing corruption at the highest levels of government through outstanding investigative journalism in the name of transparency and accountability.”

Watch the video statement here. Read the full transcript of her powerful speech in the UN Human Rights Council bellow:

Mr President, Excellencies

I am an investigative journalist and my job is to uncover facts of corruption. A busy job, I would say. Although trying to shed light to something that is being purposely hidden, can sometimes be a risky job too. They – those who use political power and offices to steal public money often use the same power to silence those who uncover the facts of theft, illegal businesses, tax evasion, nepotism and corruption. Here I want to ask you, Excellencies, how and why those people who are willing to steal their people’s opportunities to benefit themselves have been able to reach high positions both in national and international levels. Also in this very platform, which could be very instrumental in fighting plutocrats and kleptocrats.

One would expect that the UN and its structures would properly react to recent investigations revealing multimillion cross-border corruption facts. We would like to hear condemnations and attempts to find solutions to the problems.

Sadly, results of corruption – poverty, lack of healthcare and sometimes wars – were high in the agenda of the UN, but never the root cause of the problem.

The UN fights with poverty, and avoids to fight one of the reasons – corrupt politicians who deprive their people of economic opportunities by family monopolies, bribes and abuses of power. The UN challenges the problems of healthcare globally, often forgetting about leaders who steal public funds that are supposed to help build available healthcare services. The UN is too shy to speak out against the highest-level managers who embezzled international donations, so they don’t reach the poor and needed.

Those who deprive their people from products of democracy and good governance, rarely suffer from consequences.  They have enough wealth to buy healthcare services and education opportunities for themselves and family members abroad, they spend holidays in peaceful locations, while their countries, turned to one of the hot spots of the world suffer from wars, fuelled by arms deals paying for the same expensive vacations.

As the corrupt leaders enjoy impunity, their voices are heard from the highest platforms of the world where they hypocritically speak about problems, which they themselves benefit from.

Corruption in the 21st century is an international evil. Corrupt leaders help each other to get richer and silence critics, they open their countries to dirty money of each other and help each other accommodate the voting procedures in international organisations. Corrupt leaders help each other to stay in power, suppress their people and meddle with each other’s elections.

There is a solution. The solution is more transparency and it is your responsibility, Excellencies, to make the world more transparent, to create systems that would disable kleptocrats from hiding their illegal wealth, and more importantly, to support those who uncover the crimes of corruption.