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Swiss join efforts to forge UN treaty against corruption

The justice minister, Ruth Metzler, is representing Switzerland Keystone Archive

The justice minister, Ruth Metzler, is among delegates from 190 countries trying to hammer out an agreement on fighting corruption at a conference in The Hague. It's hoped the meeting will lead to a new United Nations treaty.

This content was published on May 29, 2001 - 16:57

Metzler is travelling to The Hague to hear the outcome of three days of talks among experts. She expects to join other ministers on Thursday in signing a final declaration about monitoring national anti-corruption activities and defining good governance.

This would form the basis of a new UN treaty against all forms of corruption, including bribery, kickbacks, nepotism and embezzlement of public funds.

For its part, Switzerland will be highlighting its efforts to locate and return money embezzled from state coffers by dictators. The Swiss authorities have frozen millions of dollars in accounts belonging to former dictators such as Nigeria's Sani Abacha and the Philippines' Ferdinand Marcos.

The Dutch justice minister, Benk Korthals, described forum as a "platform for all states to sit back and reflect on where negotiations should be headed".

He said: "No country can seal itself off from the impact of corruption beyond its borders and, therefore, every nation most work with every other to fight corruption."

Significantly, a number of delegates from countries with poor records on corruption are attending the meeting. These include Indonesia, Uganda, Pakistan and India, which are all rated near the bottom of the "Corruption Perception Index", compiled by the monitoring organisation, Transparency International.

The meeting, called the Global Forum on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity, is the second of its kind- the first was held in Washington in 1999 - and should pave the way for another conference in Vienna in August.

swissinfo with agencies

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