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What can we do when those charged with protecting the people are themselves the abusers?

 Transparency International logo 
 

Hi ,

 

This week, we condemned the systemic racism in the U.S. that has resulted in yet another killing of an unarmed Black American by the police.

The killing of George Floyd sparked outrage and protests across the U.S. The tragedy also inspired marches in other cities around the world, where thousands of people protested racial inequality and police abuse.

In the U.S., Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than white Americans.

In 99 per cent of police killings between 2013-2019, the officers involved were not charged with a crime.

Small wonder then that our 2017 U.S. Corruption Barometer opinion poll found that close to a third of Black Americans see the police as highly corrupt, compared to a fifth of the total population.

Corruption exacerbates the effects of discrimination, but the exact relationship between the two phenomena are still understudied. This is something we plan to closely investigate over the coming months.

We do, however, know that police abuse can take many shapes and forms, and is not a problem unique to the U.S.

In Nigeria, there is an urgent need for improved tools for citizens to report abuses by law enforcement. In the first two weeks of the coronavirus lockdown there, extra-judicial killings enforcing the regulations claimed more lives than the virus itself.

Across Africa, people think the police is the most corrupt institution in their country. As our 2019 Global Corruption Barometer – Africa survey showed, 47 per cent of Africans believe that most or all police are corrupt, with 28 per cent also saying they had paid a bribe to a police officer in the previous year.

The police also earned the highest bribery rates in our surveys of Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East and North Africa, where 24 and 22 per cent, respectively, said they had paid a bribe to a law enforcement officer in the past year.

Innocent people should never have to fear for their life or their livelihood when they encounter a police officer.

Fundamental systemic changes, including anti-corruption reforms, are needed in countries all over the world to prevent police abuse. Leaders need to show political will to prioritise reforms that help deliver justice for the victims of police corruption and hold perpetrators accountable.

What do you think? Let us know @anticorruption.

New on Voices for Transparency

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In Nigeria, COVID-19 brings home the need for effective criminal justice complaint channels

With the coronavirus lockdown creating more opportunities for law enforcement agencies to abuse their power, Transparency International Nigeria argues that mechanisms for reporting corruption have to be more effective and user-friendly.

New on Anti-Corruption Knowledge Hub

 
 

Professional enablers of economic crime during crises

Evidence shows that professional enablers have facilitated economic crime during previous crises. For instance, drug money was laundered through banks during the global financial crisis of 2007/2008, and funds disbursed in previous humanitarian crises, such as the Ebola outbreak, were lost and laundered with assistance from professional enablers.

 
 
 

Consideration of victims in the enforcement of the FCPA and the UKBA

Foreign bribery not only fosters a culture of corruption in business but it has a devastating effect on the countries where the bribes are paid. While there is no dearth of anti-bribery legislation at the international and national levels, there is no consensus on victims’ remedies or rights. The jurisdictions of two of the most recognised foreign bribery laws – FCPA and UKBA – allow for restitution and compensation for victims; however, they differ in their approach.

 
 
 

The use of amnesties for corruption offences

The use of amnesties – whether for human rights abuses or corruption – is a politically controversial measure that is often perceived as fueling impunity and undermining the rule of law. Although there have been recent examples in countries such as Tunisia, Moldova and Romania, using amnesties for economic crimes and corruption is exceptional, politically sensitive and usually met with massive resistance.

 

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