Larry Diamond: "Corruption is a crime against developing countries"

From a speech by the senior fellow at the Hoover Institution to the Foreign Policy Centre in London
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The Independent Online

Comprehensive debt relief should only be granted to countries that have demonstrated a basic commitment to good governance and tackling corruption. This needs laws that require every significant public official to declare their assets on taking office and every year thereafter. They should be published on the internet, so people can demonstrate falsehood when it is exhibited. A serious counter-corruption apparatus is a crucial step, and countries that don't have that in place should not be entitled to debt relief and trade liberalisation.

Comprehensive debt relief should only be granted to countries that have demonstrated a basic commitment to good governance and tackling corruption. This needs laws that require every significant public official to declare their assets on taking office and every year thereafter. They should be published on the internet, so people can demonstrate falsehood when it is exhibited. A serious counter-corruption apparatus is a crucial step, and countries that don't have that in place should not be entitled to debt relief and trade liberalisation.

We need another international court to prosecute what I call "crimes against development", of which corruption is one. When you have rapacious corruption, which exists in many parts of the developing world, this is on the level of a crime against humanity.

But there are principles and circumstances we must bear in mind. One is humility. We, the established democracies, are trying to foster the spread of democracy elsewhere in the world. But we also have serious problems with our democracies.

Second, I am not naive. We need allies in the War on Terror, and have to co-operate with countries such as Russia and Pakistan. But they need us too, and therefore we have leverage. As in the Cold War, we too often do not exert pressure on countries to improve their human rights record. We should be honest in saying that we have to do business with these countries, but we also have our beliefs, and we are going to criticise these regimes even as we co-operate with them practically.

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