Posted: Tuesday, November 1, 2016. 11:51 a.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: The government, in a release issued this morning, announced that Cabinet has decided to accede to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
Cabinet made the decision this morning at its weekly meeting in “keeping with the process for treaties already in force”.
According to the release, rather than signing the Convention on December 9 as had originally been designated by Prime Minister Dean Barrow and having it ratified by the Senate at a later date; the Senate will meet in a special session to consider and approve a motion authorizing accession to the UNCAC prior to the PM signing on December 9, which is also world anti-corruption day.
Following Senate approval Barrow will sign the Instrument of Accession which will be submitted to the UN Secretary General bringing the treaty into force the same day.
The decision comes after the current administration faced mounting pressure from the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) and Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) in previous weeks to sign the UNCAC.
The UN adopted the UNCAC in 2003 and the signing conference for the convention was held in Merida, Mexico in December of that year. The People’s United Party (PUP), who were in government from 2003-2008, and the current United Democratic Party (UDP) Government have each had ample opportunities to sign Belize on to the convention but neither party has been willing to do so until now.
For years Belize stood among nations like Syria, North Korea, Japan, Germany and Sudan that have not ratified the UNCAC. Belize and Suriname are the only two countries in the Western Hemisphere that have not signed on to the anti-corruption convention.
The UNCAC was introduced as the world’s first legally binding anti-corruption instrument. It is an eight-chapter document that obliges member states to implement several anti-corruption measures that may affect their laws, institutions and practices. The measures aim to criminalize certain conducts, strengthen international law enforcement and judicial cooperation, provide effective mechanisms for asset recovery, and provide technical assistance and information exchange systems between member states.
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