In decision 2002/106 contained in document E/CN.4/2003/2, the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, guided by the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime as well as other relevant human rights instruments, decided to entrust me with the task of preparing, without financial implications, a working paper on the impact of corruption on the realization and enjoyment of all human rights in particular economic, social and cultural rights.
The decision to entrust me with this mandate also took into consideration the discussion held during the forty-fourth session of the Sub-Commission that corruption should be condemned and that those guilty of corruption should face international justice if they escaped national jurisdiction. The Economic Social Council, having been equally concerned by the serious problems posed by corruption, which may endanger the stability of societies, undermine the values of democracy and morality and jeopardize social, economic and political development, adopted resolution 2001/13 entitled "Strengthening international cooperation in preventing and combating the transfer of funds of illicit origin, derived from acts of corruption, including the laundering of funds, and in returning of such funds."
I. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
The enjoyment of all regimes of rights, be they economic, social and cultural or civil and political, is seriously undermined by the phenomenon of corruption. It is perhaps not necessary here to waste time on the definition of corruption; corruption nonetheless can be defined in a broad sense to reflect the very many dimensions that corrupt practices may take. It can be defined in a narrower context with specific focus on certain expressions of corruption, i.e. the fraudulent acquisition by individuals, or groups of individuals who take advantage of their privileged position in the national polity to enrich themselves, or the international dimension such as organized crimes and money-laundering, of huge sums of money generated through arms smuggling, drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, etc.
Corruption has been described as a cancer, a cancer festering within society, enriching a few and impoverishing many. Corruption unfortunately is universal as no country is spared this scourge. The draft OAU/AU Convention on Combating Corruption acknowledged the undermining effects of corruption on accountability and transparency in the management of public affairs as well as on the socio-economic development of the continent.