Accountability is currently missing altogether at the upstream end of refugee flows where perpetrators act with impunity, often enriching themselves in the process, sometimes shielded by UN Security Council vetoes. One of the Council’s proposals in its report Appel á l’action : transformer le système mondial d’aide aux réfugiés that has generated a lot of attention involves frozen assets.
The current practice around the world is for governments to freeze assets that can be traced to corrupt foreign officials. The Council’s proposal is to go one step further and confiscate and re- purpose these assets for refugee and IDP assistance. The result would be to increase the amounts available to support the forcibly displaced, while at the same time enhancing accountability by eliminating the impunity of corrupt leaders.
Legislation to this effect has been tabled in Canada by Senator Ratna Omidvar, a Council member, with the support of many senators and some senior cabinet officials. This is Bill S-217, or the Frozen Assets Repurposing Act or FARA (which was tabled in the spring 2019 in the Senate of Canada).
WRMC members have delivered testimony to the Senate on Bill S-217. You You can watch the latest testimony to the Senate from WRMC Chair Lloyd Axworthy, Special Advisor Allan Rock, and member Senator Ratna Omidvar here.
Below you will find in depth information from the WRMC regarding the Frozen Assets Repurposing Act including testimony from WRMC members to the Senate as well as information about the WRMC’s Groupe de travail canadien contre la grande corruption which seeks to promote FARA.
Watch our August 2020 webinar on using frozen assets and the International Anti-Corruption Court to hold kleptocrats to account.
Read our research paper Repurposing Frozen Assets to Assist the Forcibly Displaced