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Transparency International Activists Under Threat

Written by Alice McCool on Tuesday, 10 December 2013

To mark UN Anti-Corruption Day this week, TI-UK are paying tribute to our Transparency International colleagues around the world who operate in environments where anti-corruption work is incredibly challenging and often dangerous.


To mark UN Anti-Corruption Day this week, TI-UK are paying tribute to our Transparency International colleagues around the world who operate in environments where anti-corruption work is incredibly challenging and often dangerous.

While we at TI-UK get on with our daily tasks in London (and complain about the rain, the tube, and our overflowing inboxes), it is easy to forget the risks that face our colleagues around the world who operate in environments where anti-corruption work is incredibly challenging and often dangerous.

Just yesterday, amidst the protests in Kiev, the Executive Director of TI Ukraine Oleksii Khmara was sent to court to face administrative charges for a case that was initially dismissed months ago due to falsified evidence. He stated: 

“I fear that the authorities are trying to stop us reacting to the events that have unfolded in Ukraine over the last few weeks. I see this as a purely politically manoeuvre caused by the activities of Transparency International Ukraine including our tough assessment of the security services during the recent violent dispersal of Euromaidan protestors in Kiev”.

In the Middle East, TI’s chapter in formation in Yemen – Yemeni Team for Transparency and Integrity (YTTI) – were harassed by police last month as they gathered stories from citizens about bribery involving the police and military as part of a new campaign to raise awareness about corruption in the security sector. A police officer pointed his rifle at the group of volunteers and staff and the encounter ended in the officers cursing and shoving members of the group. This harassment follows an attack in May when an unidentified gunman shot and seriously injured YTTI project coordinator Qasim al-Lami shortly after he had publicly spoken out against corruption.

The plight of TI Russia has become particularly well known as part of a wider government crackdown on civil society organisations in the country making vocal criticism of the authorities increasingly difficult. Russia has passed a series of laws that restrict the rights to freedom of expression association and assembly, significantly hindering the operation of national non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as international bodies supporting them. Breaking these laws carries high penalties.

To mark United Nations Anti-Corruption Day this week, we are holding an event in London where the Executive Director of TI Russia, Elena Panfilova will be presenting Global Corruption 2013: A Russian Perspective. As well as sharing her perspective on the situation within Russia Elena will address the corruption links between Russia and the UK, touching on the issue of UK-based assets and what needs to be done here to curb the export of corrupt funds. This is particularly topical following the launch of TI-UK’s report Closing Down the Safe Havens: Ending impunity for corrupt individuals by seizing and recovering their assets in the UK earlier this week. Elena who also sits on the TI global Board of Directors, will be giving her take on corruption around the globe.

                                  ____________________________________________

At the event we will also pay tribute to Gustave Sharangabo Makonene a member of TI Rwanda who was murdered in July of this year. Gustave joined the chapter in 2011 and was working as a coordinator of the Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) in Rubavu. His job was to help people who complained about corruption affecting their lives.

We at TI-UK are raising money for TI Rwanda so the essential work of our late colleague can continue. TI Rwanda has 10 regional centres which provide free and confidential legal advice and assistance to witnesses and victims of corruption. These centres empower Rwanda’s citizens in the fight against corruption by informing them of their legal rights and equipping them to take action when necessary as well as playing a critical role identifying corruption hotspots that require reform or official action.

TI Rwanda needs the resources to expand this important service and take it to rural communities they have, as of yet, been unable to reach. Gustave was working to achieve this at the time of his death.

Inspiring individuals like Gustave, Elena, Qasim, Oleksii and many, many others who have stood and continue to stand up to corruption in the face of adversity are the heroes of the global fight against corruption. Please join us in supporting them.

                                   ____________________________________________

UPDATE 17 July 2014:

Last year you helped us raise £1500 to continue Gustave’s work fighting corruption in the most remote parts of his country. Please donate to TI Rwanda by calling us on +44 (0)20 7922 7906 or texting ‘ALAC20’ £__ to 70070.

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Read 7617 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 11:47

Alice McCool

Alice formerly worked for Transparency International UK as our Campaigns Officer. You can tweet her via @McCoolingtons.

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