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AG/RES. 1346 (XXV-O/95)

PROBITY AND PUBLIC ETHICS

(Resolution adopted at the ninth plenary session, held on June 9, 1995)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,

HAVING SEEN the Report of the Permanent Council on Probity and Public Ethics (AG/doc.3178/95);

BEARING IN MIND:

The principles and purposes enshrined in the Charter of the Organization of American States, the preamble of which states that "representative democracy is an indispensable condition for the stability, peace and development of the region" and that "juridical organization is a necessary condition for security and peace founded on moral order and on justice";

That, in the Santiago Commitment to Democracy and the Renewal of the Inter-American System, the foreign ministers of the OAS member states declared "their determination to continue to prepare and develop a relevant agenda for the Organization, in order to respond appropriately to the new challenges and demands in the world and in the region";

That resolution AG/RES. 1159 (XXII-O/92), "Corrupt International Trade Practices," establishes that "corrupt practices can thwart the process of integral development by diverting resources needed to improve the peoples' economic and social conditions";

That, in the Declaration of Managua for the Promotion of Democracy and Development [AG/DEC. 4 (XXIII-O/93)], the foreign ministers of the OAS member states declared "their support for the processes of modernizing administrative and political structures in those states that request it, in order that governmental action may meet the increasing demands of their people for more effectiveness and more ethical governance";

That, in the San José Declaration on Human Rights, of January 22, 1993, the representatives of the Latin American and Caribbean countries, in the context of preparations for the World Conference on Human Rights, identified corruption as one of the "obstacles to the observance of human rights";

That in the 1994 Declaration of Belém do Pará the foreign ministers called for "the study of measures, consistent with each country's legal system, aimed at fighting corruption, improving efficiency in the running of public affairs as well as promoting transparency and integrity in the management of public funds" and stated that "such action must be complemented by joint reflection as to the importance of public ethics and administrative integrity in strengthening and consolidating democracy in the Hemisphere";

That the heads of state and government, meeting at the Summit of the Americas, held in Miami from December 9 to 11, 1994, stated: "The problem of corruption is now an issue of serious interest not only in this Hemisphere, but in all regions of the world. Corruption in both the public and private sectors weakens democracy and undermines the legitimacy of governments and institutions. The modernization of the state, including deregulation, privatization, and the simplification of government procedures, reduces the opportunities for corruption. All aspects of public administration in a democracy must be transparent and open to public scrutiny"; and

That the Secretary General, in his document entitled "A New Vision of the OAS," suggests activities the Organization could carry out to fight corruption; and

CONSIDERING:

That corruption unfortunately affects both industrialized and developing countries in various regions of the world;

That the OAS is an appropriate forum in which to examine the challenges facing the countries of the region and to evaluate the legal mechanisms necessary for preventing and controlling problems of corruption that might affect the member states;

That, on instructions from the General Assembly through resolution AG/RES. 1294 (XXIV-O/94), the Permanent Council established a working group to study the matter of probity and public ethics;

That at the Summit of the Americas the heads of state and government proposed to develop within the OAS, "with due regard to applicable treaties and national legislation, a hemispheric approach to acts of corruption in both the public and private sectors that would include extradition and prosecution of individuals so charged, through negotiation of a new hemispheric agreement or new arrangements within existing frameworks for international cooperation";

That the Summit of the Americas invited the Organization to establish links with the Working Group of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Bribery in International Commercial Transactions, to which end the OAS took part in the symposium held from March 13 to 15 in Paris, France; and

That the Permanent Council forwarded to the Working Group on Probity and Public Ethics for consideration the draft Inter-American Convention against Corruption presented by the Government of Venezuela,

RESOLVES:

1. To note with satisfaction the report on probity and public ethics submitted by the Permanent Council.

2. To note with interest the ideas presented by the Secretary General on activities the Organization could carry out to fight corruption.

3. To instruct the Permanent Council to continue to study the subject pursuant to operative paragraph 1 of resolution AG/RES. 1294 (XXIV-O/94) and report back to the General Assembly at its twenty-sixth regular session.

4. To instruct the Permanent Council to prepare the agenda and set the date for a seminar on probity and public ethics to be attended by government representatives and experts during the second half of 1995 and to accept the generous offer of the Government of Uruguay to host it.

5. To instruct the Chair of the Working Group on Probity and Public Ethics to prepare a draft Inter-American Convention against Corruption, with support from the General Secretariat and on the basis of the proposal submitted by the Government of Venezuela, bearing in mind observations contributed by the governments.

6. To instruct the Inter-American Juridical Committee to set forth, at its meeting in August this year, its observations on the draft Inter-American Convention against Corruption prepared in accordance with the preceding paragraph.

7. To convene a special series of meetings of the Working Group on Probity and Public Ethics, to be held during the second half of 1995 at OAS headquarters and attended by experts appointed by the governments, for consideration of the draft Inter-American Convention against Corruption prepared by the Chair of the Working Group and for preparation of a definitive draft convention in the light of the observations issued by the Inter-American Juridical Committee.

8. To instruct the Permanent Council that, once it has received the draft convention mentioned in the preceding paragraph, it should convene a Specialized Conference to consider and, if appropriate, adopt that draft convention, and should establish the date, venue, and agenda for that conference. Similarly, to instruct the General Secretariat to lend its support for the holding of this conference.

9. To thank the Government of Venezuela for its generous offer to host the aforementioned Specialized Conference.

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