Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 9, 2013

The United States joins the international community today in saluting individuals, governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and international organizations dedicated to preventing and combating the scourge of corruption.

It is difficult to overstate the profoundly negative impact that corruption has on society. The abuse of entrusted power for private gain does violence to our values, our prosperity, and even our security.

Having spent two years of my own life as a young prosecutor in Massachusetts, where I focused on white-collar and organized crime, this issue is especially personal. And it’s a responsibility I take seriously as someone who spent years in the Senate leading difficult, sensitive, and comprehensive investigations on everything from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International to illegal money laundering.

During my travels as Secretary of State, especially to countries that are in the midst of political transitions, I underscore the importance of fighting corruption and promoting good governance. I do so proudly, knowing that we strengthen our credibility and our foreign policy when we make these issues a priority in our relationships.

That’s why the United States and 167 other countries have ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the world’s broadest framework for tackling corruption.

That’s why we worked with the G8 Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition to launch the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery, which has helped to stimulate the return of more than $70 million in stolen assets to the transition countries in the Middle East.

And that’s why the United States is deeply committed to the mission of the Open Government Partnership, an innovative multi-stakeholder initiative of governments, civil society, and business.

On this International Anticorruption Day, we call on all governments to implement their commitments under the UN Convention Against Corruption and to afford civil society a meaningful role in anti-corruption and transparency efforts.

This is an issue that matters greatly to all of us, which makes even greater our shared responsibility to fight corruption and promote free, open societies anywhere and everywhere they are threatened.

PRN: 2013/1540