From: Alice Taylor
Albania Signs UN Declaration to Fight Corruption

Albania has agreed to an 86-point UN declaration to protect journalists, prosecute high officials for corruption, and create a multilateral approach to combat the phenomenon.

The resolution on “challenges and measures to prevent and combat corruption and strengthen international cooperation” was signed last week at the first-ever UN General Assembly Special Session against Corruption.

It starts by noting that UN Member States, including Albania, are “concerned about the seriousness of the problems and threats posed by corruption” and the impact it has on democracy, ethics, justice, the rule of law, institutions, and society as a whole.

Albania then promises to pursue a multilateral approach to prevent and combat corruption. They agree to include the 86 points of the declaration into national law.

Of particular interest was point 31 which states that Albania pledges to:

“Strive to provide a safe and adequate environment to journalists, and we will investigate, prosecute and punish threats and acts of violence, falling within our jurisdiction, committed against them.”

They also noted “with appreciation the important role of civil society, academia, the private sector and the media in identifying, detecting and reporting on cases of corruption,” adding that they will promote their active participation in the fight against corruption. And to raise public awareness of the impact of corruption. 

In terms of access to information, they agree to “respect, promote and protect the freedom to seek, receive, publish and disseminate information concerning corruption.” They add that the participation of these groups will not result in any reprisals or negative influences.

The Albanian government has also pledged to make information more accessible and available to those looking to hold power to account. This includes facilitating access to information through digital tools, open data, internet-based portals, and other means.

The Albanian government’s signature on the document means it declares that it rejects “corruption and will implement measures to better detect it with a view to ending impunity. We commit to criminalizing, investigating, prosecuting, and adjudicating acts of corruption and related offenses in the public and private sectors. We commit to having in place and enforcing effective, proportionate, dissuasive, and non-discriminatory criminal or non-criminal sanctions against natural and legal persons for corruption and related offenses.”

Signatories have also pledged to understand and support the importance of an “independent and transparent judicial system” which upholds ethical and integrity standards.

In terms of corruption, Albania still has a lot of work to do.  Money laundering, drug cultivation and trafficking, human trafficking, vote-buying and voter intimidation, corruption in police, the judiciary, institutions and government, and steadily declining media freedom are just some of the unresolved issues.