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Anti-corruption drive launched

19 October 2012

A GLOBAL anti-corruption cam­paign was launched on Thursday of last week to tackle the "devastating consequences" of illicit practices in financial and political systems.

The 12-month campaign by Exposed, an international coalition of Christian organisations which includes the Bible Society, the Salva­tion Army, and Micah Challenge International, began with an event at Central Hall, Westminster. Faith leaders called on mem­bers of communities across the world to "shine a light on corrup­tion".

An online petition that seeks 100 million signatures has been launched, and, during the next 12 months, individuals, the Govern­ment, businesses, and Churches will all be challenged to take steps to root out corruption. A vigil against corruption will take place in one year's time, and the petition will be handed to the G20 gathering in Australia in 2014.

The campaign chairman and International Director of Micah Challenge, the Revd Joel Edwards, said: "This current economic crisis means that greed, the excesses of corporate cultures, dishonesty, and unaccountable behaviour have touched us where it hurts. Exposed is here to join an increasing chorus of concern which says 'enough is enough'. It is an opportunity for the Church to do what we are called to do: raise our voice in holy outrage and provide practical offerings of hope."

Three thousand churches signed up to take part in the event organ­ised by Micah Challenge, "Light For My Feet", which took place on Sunday. Prayer, sermons, and activities were used to explore biblical passages about poverty and corruption.

A report published by the campaign group Global Financial Integrity in December 2011 suggests that "illicit financial flows" from developing countries in 2009 totalled $903 billion. In 2004, the World Bank estimated that $1 trillion is paid in bribes every year.

The organisation, which provided 13.4 per cent of its lending to help countries "improve the performance and accountability of their core public-sector institutions and rule of law" in the first two quarters of 2012, launched a revised strategy on governance and anti-corruption this year.

More than 150 states have signed the UN Convention Against Corruption, but Tearfund has warned that many states are "simply ignoring" their commitments.


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