January 28, 2022 — A new Canadian Task Force Against Global Corruption, launched today by the World Refugee & Migration Council, will focus its work on strengthening and developing key instruments of national and international governance to tackle the scourge of “grand corruption.”
The bad governance that so often causes forced displacement is almost always associated with grand corruption, the abuse of power by high-level government officials who exploit their positions for personal gain at the expense of society and in violation of human rights.
Grand corruption weakens and distracts governments, making it less likely that they will meet their responsibility to protect their own population. Furthermore, corruption discourages donors, compounding the difficulty in funding efforts to assist refugees and the internally displaced.
The WRMC addressed the consequences of corruption in its 2019 report, Un llamado a la acción: Transformar el sistema global de refugio, stressing accountability and proposing that when stolen funds are found offshore, they ought not only to be frozen but also confiscated and repurposed for the benefit of the forcibly displaced.
The WRMC has also become deeply involved in the global effort to promote the creation of an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC).
On December 16, 2021, the Canadian Prime Minister’s Mandate Letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs directed Minister Mélanie Joly to:
- Work with international partners to help establish an International Anti-Corruption Court, to prevent corrupt officials and authoritarian governments from impeding development that should benefit their citizens; and
- Continue to support and implement Canada’s Magnitsky Law, the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, and promote the adoption of similar legislation and practices globally.
Similarly, in its Summit for Democracy 2021 Submission and Commitments, the Government of Canada stated that “Canada will convene a national high level, multi-sectoral roundtable to explore options to strengthen the international legal framework and architecture to combat corruption globally.”
In the course of its work, the Task Force will continue to advocate for the successful passage of the Foreign Assets Repurposing Act, which has now had second reading as a private member’s bill in the Senate as a complement to existing Magnitsky legislation and the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act; and the creation of the IACC in close collaboration with our US partner, Integrity Initiatives International.
We will work with our civil society partners nationally and internationally to support these initiatives; organize a series of roundtables so that Canadians understand better why these initiatives are necessary; and conduct further in-depth study and research to further refine these proposals.
The members of the Task Force are:
- Hon. Lloyd Axworthy, Chair, World Refugee & Migration Council
- Professor Robert Currie, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
- Dr. Peter German, President, International Centre for Criminal Law Reform, Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
- Ms. Maja Groff, Global Governance Forum and Convenor of the Climate Governance Commission
- Professor Fen Osler Hampson, President, World Refugee & Migration Council and Chancellor’s Professor, Carleton University
- Hon. Mobina Jaffer
- Mr. Ian Lynch, Integrity Initiatives International (observer)
- Hon. Peter MacKay, former Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Justice and Foreign Affairs
- Hon. Lorna Marsden, former Canadian Senator and president of York and Wilfrid Laurier Universities
- Hon. Ratna Omidvar, Human Rights and Migration Advocate
- Ms. Maureen O’Neil, former President of the International Development Research Centre
- Dr. Angus Reid, CEO & Founder, Angus Reid Global
- Hon. Allan Rock, former Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Justice
- Mr. Farid Rohani, Member of the Board, Integrity Initiatives International
- Mr. Jeff Stoub, Director of Communications, World Refugee & Migration Council
- Hon. Mark Wolf, Chair, Integrity Initiatives International and Senior United States District Judge (ex officio)
More information on the Canadian Task Force Against Global Corruption page.