According to Transparency International Corruption Perception Index 2014, Europe has countries that are at the very top of the list, however, it also has countries that almost fall under the category of the most corrupt in the world. This article will not try to investigate why some are almost corruption-free whereas the others fail to tackle corruption. What this article is going to talk about is the change that we all can take part in.
Firstly, it is crucial to define what corruption is. For most, corruption corresponds to bribing officials, such as police, politicians, city council members; paying supplementary fees in order to get to a university or get a better medical treatment at hospital or clinic. However, according to me, corruption has a broader definition and encompasses more within itself. An official who appoints his son to a top ranking position, because he is his son, is also corrupt. A person who skips work in a public sector (such as a public hospital) and works in a private sector (such as a private clinic) for a couple of hours instead and receives two salaries for the same period of time should also be regarded as corrupt. A politician who drives his electorate to the polling station to vote should not be considered fair either. Would a student cheating in his exams be called corrupt? What about a church where donations are obligatory and have a fixed rate? All of these examples fall under various categories of corruption and one can encounter them all on the European soil.
Corruption is a societal tumor. How can we cure a corrupt society?
The only permanent cure is an aggressive fight against corruption, where ordinary citizens such as you and I have a strong voice and position regarding it. Citizens are cells of a country. In biology, in an organism that is attacked by a disease, all cells unify in order to cure it. The same patterns work in the fight against corruption: all citizens (cells) in a society (body) should unite and manifest against the evil.
Therefore, today a new non-profit, non-governmental, international and youthful organisation called Anti-Corruption International (ACI) was born! The main goal of ACI is to bring together young people from all around the world in order to raise awareness of corruption-related issues, expose practices of corruption and develop ideas of fighting it in an open, engaging and encouraging environment. Commonly, corruption is defined as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain, but corruption also represents a contagious disease of the society that disables it to progress. Even though corruption can permeate all public spaces – universities, hospitals, courts, public transportation etc. people are still afraid to share their stories and seek justice. They state fear as a major obstacle in exposing corruption while governments blame lack of anti-corruption mechanisms and legislation to fight this global phenomenon. Therefore, ACI has set out as its main goal to investigate and expose corruption practices and provide support and information for students and young people around the world battling corruption in all its forms. ACI also represents a platform for young people to share their corruption concerns, stories and experiences. In order to raise awareness about the negative effects of corruption, ACI will educate people about the destructive impact of corruption on human progress and development.
We encourage you – Europeans, from the almost corrupt-free and from the most corrupt countries – to follow our work and join our campaigns so that we can all make a positive impact on the corruption in Europe and the world. Anti-corruption would never be viable and effective, if nobody had a strong and loud voice against it. It sounds outrageous that the rights of people in Moldova, Romania, Macedonia, Bulgaria or Ukraine are violated, because they need to bribe someone to get into university or get medical treatment. It sounds disturbing that equality does not exist, due to the fact that some can afford to overcome the rules and national or international laws. It sounds frustrating that people have to flee their countries, because they do not feel dignified and valuable members of their societies where societal exclusion and inequalities flourish due to corruption. The most important thing is that we can change this, however we need to stay united and learn from one another.
“Countries at the bottom need to adopt radical anti-corruption measures in favor of their people. Countries at the top of the index should make sure they don’t export corrupt practices to underdeveloped countries.”
– José Ugaz, Chair, Transparency International
Make the corrupt fear YOUth!