PRAYER ALERT on Lima Commitment. On April 14, 33 OAS countries participating in the eighth Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru signed an agreement for fighting corruption called the Lima Commitment. It recognized that “corruption weakens democratic governance and citizens’ trust in institutions.” Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru itself have recently experienced political unrest following the fall or disgrace of heads of states caught in corrupt practices.
The Lima Commitment reaffirmed the already-existing UN Commission Against Corruption (UNCAC) and Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (ICAC). But it sought to add to those treaties by articulating 57 points under the following seven themes:
A Reinforcement of Democratic Governance. That includes strengthening judicial autonomy and public promotion of democratic values.
B Transparency, Access to Information, Protection of Whistleblowers, and Human Rights, including Freedom of Expression. New technologies should not protect unnecessary secrecy. Instead they should facilitate transparency, accountability and healthy debate.
C Financing of Political Organizations and Election Campaigns. Candidates must ensure that they are collecting contributions legally. Laws should restrict access to public office for those convicted of corruption.
D Prevention of Corruption in Public Works and Public Procurement and Contracting. The Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht paid bribes for contracts in 12 countries. This provision would promote monitoring of such projects. It would also simplify bureaucratic practices that can hide corrupt activities.
E International Legal Cooperation; the Fight against Bribery, International Corruption, Organized Crime, and Money-laundering; and Asset Recovery. OAC countries need more international cooperation and accountability to enforce UNCAC standards in financial dealings.
F Strengthening of Inter-American Anti-corruption Mechanisms. These countries also need to strengthen the Follow-up Mechanism for Implementation of ICAC.
G Follow-up and Reports. A Joint Summit Working Group will carry out the 57 points of the Lima Commitment. They will also make ongoing reports to the 22 participants.
A head of state may use these measures to keep his underlings from shady uses of state funds. Such corruption can undermine his government. But he may find it more difficult to give opponents more freedom to scrutinize and criticize his government’s inner workings. We must pray that both governments and their critics—who may replace them—learn to be more accountable and just.
PRAY WITH US. Father God, You are the Judge, Lawgiver and King. You have established all authorities in the earth. Now make them more accountable to You, and to Your good purposes for their peoples. Righteousness exalts a nation. But sin is a reproach to any people. And serious reproaches have fallen on many OAS nations. Show them the way out of corruption. Lead them into paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake.
Establish the authority of the Lima Commitment they have agreed on. Turn its worthy principles into healthy practices. We thank You for the new era of democracy that former dictatorships have entered into. Set the course for a new era of accountability and integrity now. Take from the wicked unrepentant servants the talents they refuse to use for good. And reward the good and faithful servants with more. In Jesus’ name, amen.
DailyInsight. The more complicated a government, the more “experts” can hide corruption behind the complications (see 2 Pet. 2:19)
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