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Corruption hurting economic growth: Kofi Annan

June 10, 2003 12:23 IST

Battle against corruption is going beyond the local realms with the United Nations launching a frontal attack against the "insidious menace" terming it as a progenitor of poverty, terrorism and other threats to human security undermining democracy.

Corruption is an "insidious menace" and obstacle to economic and social development around the world, and has prompted the United Nations to strengthen its own mechanism to ensure that integrity and ethics guide all its undertakings, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message to an anti-corruption meeting at Harvard University.

The scourge "debases democracy, undermines the rule of law, distorts markets, stifles economic growth, and denies many their rightful share of economic resources or life-saving aid," Annan said.

The UN is in the frontline in the fight against corruption, Annan noted, adding that such efforts must however begin at home, and hence the need to take a closer look at internal governance and professional ethics.

"A major step forward is expected later this year when member states gather in Mexico City to sign a United Nations Convention Against Corruption," the Secretary-General said.

The Convention would ensure the criminalisation of diverse forms of corruption and oblige member states to take effective preventive measures to protect the dignity of their institutions and procedures.

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