Resolution on the fight against corruption and impunity in the Americas

Considering that the preamble to the United Nations Convention against Corruption states that corruption undermines “the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice" and jeopardises “sustainable development and the rule of law”.

Considering also that the preamble to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption establishes that “representative democracy, an essential condition for stability, peace and development of the region, requires, by its nature, the combating of every form of corruption in the performance of public functions, as well as acts of corruption specifically related to such performance”.

Recalling that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights published Resolution 1/17 in 2017 on Human Rights and the Fight against Impunity and Corruption which stated that “the fight against corruption is inextricably linked to the exercise and enjoyment of human rights. Impunity fosters and perpetuates acts of corruption. Therefore, the establishment of effective mechanisms to eradicate corruption is an urgent obligation in order to achieve effective access to an independent and impartial justice and to guarantee human rights”.

Recalling that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights published Resolution 1/18 in 2018 on Human Rights and Corruption which stated that “An independent and impartial justice system is indispensable for effectively combating corruption” and that “in some countries of the region, corruption and impunity have allowed criminal organizations to grow, establish parallel power structures and co-opt the judiciary, including its very highest courts”.

Recalling also that at the VIII Summit of the Americas on “Democratic Governance against Corruption” in Lima, Peru in 2018, the 26 organisations of the Coalition “Movement for human rights and against corruption” drew “the attention of the governments of the Americas to the need to tackle the problem of corruption from a human rights perspective”.

Noting with concern that in the region the fight against corruption has not yet been deployed with the determination and efficiency that the threat of the scourge of corruption represents for our peoples especially since it affects the enjoyment of social, cultural and economic rights.

Noting also that there is more than enough evidence to believe that many important infrastructure construction projects in some of the region’s countries have been undertaken under corrupt schemes linked to the operations of the company Odebrecht, such as, for example, the construction of a coal power station in Punta Catalina in the Dominican Republic and (EXAMPLES FROM OTHER COUNTRIES CAN BE ADDED).

Highlighting that in the aftermath of the Odebrecht scandal of December 2016, not in all the countries where this company operated under a scheme of bribes and illegal financing of presidential campaigns in order to award the tenders for the construction of infrastructure projects, justice has been assured to all those involved in the operations, such as the case of the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Mexico, among others.

Indicating that it is impunity that allows corruption mechanisms to be reproduced and that it is therefore necessary to tackle it in a decisive fashion.

Pointing out also that independent and impartial justice is key to combating impunity.

Resolved to pool efforts to ensure that the social and democratic rule of law is respected in our countries with a view to make sure public funds are used exclusively for public policies for the well-being and development of our peoples.

FIDH, meeting in Taipei (Taiwan) from 21 to 25 October 2019 for its 40th Congress, therefore :

- Reiterates that the fight against corruption and impunity will be crucial in the future actions of FIDH and its member organisations.
- Reaffirms the importance for our countries to have independent and impartial judicial systems, which will be more efficient in the fight against corruption and impunity, and asks States to adopt urgent measures to strengthen them.
- Urges States to activate mechanisms, and to create them where they do not exist, so that the public prosecutors can implement the necessary actions to conduct all outstanding investigations in relation to the Odbrecht company bribes, including the illegal funding of presidential campaigns and overvaluing of all of the works.
- Suggests that control mechanisms be implemented for public and private institutions where cases of corruption are most frequently reported, for example, the police, immigration officials and bodies tasked with carrying out infrastructure projects.
- Invites States to strengthen mechanisms for international cooperation and mutual assistance and advice in the cross-border fight against corruption.

Read more