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Press release | Transparency International: excessive secrecy increases corruption risk in defence and security

New study finds that classified information laws often lack safeguards to protect accountability

Jakarta, 11 September – Too often, governments keep information about defence and security secret from the public, citing national security concerns. A new report from Transparency International UK’s Defence and Security Programme calls for better legislation that balances national security concerns with the public right to access information.

Press release | Transparency International Germany: Corruption is a blind spot in international security policies

A study from Transparency International Germany identifies corruption as a key threat to stability and peace.


Earlier this month, African leaders and President Obama met in Washington, DC, for a major summit. Corruption was on the agenda, and so was security—two deeply interconnected issues. Two initiatives emerged: a new Security Governance Initiative with a dedicated $65m USD, and a pledge to provide $110m for peacekeeping efforts on the continent over the next three years.

The focus on security governance is important and this initiative is a good first step—corruption in this sector has often been ignored, or seen as inevitable.

But in order for these initiatives to contribute to peace, good governance, and public trust, throwing money at the problem isn’t enough. As the case of Afghanistan has shown, an influx of funding without accountability mechanisms can even do more harm than good.

So with the creation of the Security Governance Initiative and peacekeeping funding, here’s what policymakers and planners should keep in mind:

  • Guidance should be developed that targets reducing corruption risks on peacekeeping operations, and training, capacity-building, and oversight should be put in place.

  • The initiative should be used to push for greater transparency in defence budgeting and a reduction in off-budget spending.

  • Within security governance, the full spectrum of defence and security sector corruption risks should be taken into account—this shouldn’t just be about soldiers asking for bribes, but also corruption in international arms contracts.

  • Legislative and civil society oversight of the defence and security sector should be included as a component of the initiative’s work. It’s vital to build the capacity of security forces, but those that they’re accountable to—their citizens—should ultimately be the ones to hold them to account.

TI is currently assessing the corruption risks in the defence sectors of all 54 African countries, for the next round of the Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index. This assessment will enable TI, other NGOs, and national defence establishments to reduce corruption risks in this challenging sector. TI plans to work in close coordination with national governments, defence establishments, and civil society in ten African target countries to improve their ability to address corruption vulnerabilities.

Why is corruption a concern? Corruption can mean that arms are diverted and end up in the wrong hands—arms sold to Libya, for example, have moved south to multiple conflict zones. The links between conflict and corruption are clear—corruption impoverishes and disenfranchises populations, leading to public anger and instability; it weakens defence and security forces, often meaning that they don’t get the equipment they need and adequate salaries for soldiers; and it ruins the legitimacy of government.

Improving security sector governance won’t be a speedy process, but sustainable peace won’t be built without it.

21/07/14 | Yerevan

Representatives of the Armenian Ministry of Defence, Armenia's Transparency International Anticorruption Center Armenia (TIAC), Transparency International UK, and the UK Ministry of Defence gathered for two days in Yerevan to discuss mechanisms for building accountability and integrity in defence establishments.

There were three main aims to the event: first, to initiate a discussion on how the Ministry of Defence and civil society can work together to address corruption risks; second, to share information about the work that the Ministry of Defence and TIAC have done in this area; and third, to decide on areas of potential joint work for the future. The event also served as a professional development opportunity for TIAC on defence and military accountability.

The Ministry of Defence presented the Armenian defence sector reforms and Armenia’s commitments under NATO's Building Integrity Initiative.

TIAC introduced its findings of their corruption risk assessment study, which placed Armenia among countries where corruption risks are high.

The UK Ministry of Defence and TI-UK introduced international experiences of defence sector accountability and cooperation between the ministries of defence and civil society.

The Ministry of Defence of Armenia and TIAC discussed actions that are needed to improve the transparency and accountability of the defence sector. They also identified four areas that are important to both the Ministry of Defence of Armenia and TIAC, where the Ministry could rely on expert support of TI-UK and TIAC. Those areas include:

  1. Reviewing and strengthening whistleblower protection and complaints mechanisms;
  2. Suggesting improved practices for parliament’s access to defence budgets and oversight of the sector;
  3. Providing input on the draft law on Public Sector Information Protection;
  4. Improving procurement regulations and good practice.

Read more on the Armenian Transparency International Anticorruption Center site.


23/06/2014 (Updated: 09/07/2014) | Ivo Jongejan, Advocacy & Communications Assistant

Conflict and corruption go hand in hand. In recent days, the Iraqi army proved no match for ISIS insurgents in Mosul and other Iraqi cities. Ukrainian troops remain unable to subdue violent separatists. Terrorist groups and lawlessness pervade life in Northern Nigeria. In all these instances, defence and security forces that were well staffed, trained, and equipped on paper, have been unable to defend their citizens.

Read more: Conflict and Corruption: A Reading List

Mark Pyman, Director, Defence and Security Programme, Transparency International UK
Lecture delivered on Monday 23 June, at the London offices of Norton Rose Fulbright

Read more: Speech: Strengthening international security against the threats from corruption

12/06/2014 | Leah Wawro, Advocacy & Communications Lead

يقدم هذا الفيلم لمحة حول التعاون بين مؤسسة أمان - الفرع الوطني الفلسطيني لمنظمة الشفافية الدولية والمؤسسة الأمنية ووزارة الداخلية وحول مبادرة أمان في إنشاء منتدى مؤسسات المجتمع المدني للرقابة على قطاع الامن الفلسطيني.

Read more: فيديو: مكافحة الفساد في مؤسسات الأمن في فلسطين

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