The Coalition for Accountability and Integrity – AMAN called upon the President of the Ministerial Council to involve the civil society in the efforts dedicated to the second country review of the State of Palestine, which is supposed to be submitted this year in application of Chapters Two and Five of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). AMAN emphasized easy access to information to facilitate civil society contribution to this effort, as explicitly stipulated in Article 13 of the UNCAC.
To this end, AMAN sent a letter to H.E. the Prime Minister, Dr. Rami Al-Hamdallah, reiterating the necessity of a transparent review and of publication of government plans relevant to this second review. The Coalition also renewed its request to the government to adhere to the United Nations Convention on Transparency (UNCT) to present Palestine as a country that applies and believes in participation and transparency. However, the Ministerial Council response was to refuse ratification of the UNCT based on a recommendation of the Anti-Corruption Commission. The justification provided was that the adherence is voluntary and not binding to governments. It should be noted that Tunisia and Lebanon have ratified the Convention.
The UNCT was supervised by Transparency International and Civil Society Coalition for the UNCAC. It prescribes the principles to be applied by governments in preparing their country reviews as per the UNCAC. These principles include: dissemination of full review program and final report and invitation of representatives of the civil society to the discussions, consultations and post-review meetings.
AMAN mentioned in its letter the efforts it is undertaking to form a civil society coalition to carry out a shadow report on application by the State of Palestine of UNCAC, namely Chapters Two and Five. It expressed its hope that the government will fully cooperate with the Coalition in this regard.
The State of Palestine will submit its second country review this year reporting on its implementation of the provisions of UNCAC. A team of experts will review UNCAC, analyze and discuss the reports submitted by the State of Palestine on its compliance with Chapter Two “Preventive Measures” and Chapter Five “Assets Recovery”. The team will then submit its observations and recommendations to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC).
As a part of its preparations for the review, the Palestinian government formed a team of fifteen members, mostly from the public sector without any involvement of the private sector or civil society. Best international practices – however – provide for a national team with balanced representation of all government, civil and private sectors to carry out the review.