What is Anti-Corruption Day?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Anti-Corruption Day is an annual event promoted by the United Nations. The goal of Anti-Corruption Day is to raise awareness about corruption and related issues, and to show people how they can fight corruption in their communities and governments. This event occurs on 9 December each year, and it is not treated as a public holiday, although in some communities there are public events which people can attend, such as musical concerts, plays, and workshops.

Anti-Corruption Day raises awareness about bribery and other similar issues.
Anti-Corruption Day raises awareness about bribery and other similar issues.

The United Nations passed a resolution to create Anti-Corruption Day in 2003, the same year that the organization drafted the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. The convention was fully ratified two years later, in 2005, and it includes far-reaching commitments from signatory nations to fight corruption.

Corruption is a very widespread problem which has a major impact on the daily lives of people all over the world. It can take a wide number of forms, from obliging people to pay bribes to pass customs to using political influence to push for a particular outcome in a legislature. No country in the world is immune to corruption problems, although some nations have more endemic corruption than others. The United Nations believes that fighting corruption is an important part of its mission, to ensure that people around the world have an equal say in their governments, and that no one is forced to pay bribes or engage in other illicit activities to deal with the government.

As part of Anti-Corruption Day, the United Nations sponsors the “your no counts” campaign, illustrating ways in which people can fight corruption directly. The campaign promotes rejecting corruption by refusing to pay bribes and insisting on handling interactions with government officials legally. For example, someone who is asked to run errands for a government official to get a visa could refuse, insisting that running errands is not part of the visa application process.

Combating corruption can be done in a variety of ways, from insisting on transparency in financial dealings to promoting restitution for people who have been forced to make payments to corrupt officials, political parties, or governments. The United Nations Convention Against Corruption includes specific discussions about criminalizing corruption and providing real legal penalties for engaging in corrupt activities, along with investigating charges of corruption, preventing corruption, and cooperating internationally to raise corruption awareness and educate people about ways in which they can resist it. Anti-Corruption Day is one important way to reach out to the world's citizens.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@bythewell - Unfortunately, in many cases the people who are corrupt are just trying to feed their families as well.

Corruption at the higher levels should be weeded out first, so that money will trickle down and make it easier to tell lower level people they can't commit corrupt actions either.

For example, corruption isn't always bribes. Sometimes it takes the form of nepotism, or favoring your family and friends. In a country that is very poor, how could you not favor your friends and family though?

If you giving them a job, or first crack at the new stock, or a passport means the difference between life or death for them, how can you expect an ordinary person to make that choice?

On the other hand, corrupt rich people, who are just trying to get richer, should be stopped for the good of everyone.


I don't think most people realize what an awful and widespread problem corruption really is. I had a friend from India who told me stories that made my hair curl.

She said her boyfriend had refused to bribe the people who issue passports, and was effectively cut off from getting one. The only reason he managed it after a yearlong fight was because someone had made a clerical error that "coincidently" was the same amount that was expected as a bribe.

Can you imagine living in a country where, in order to get the best hospital care for your children, or avoid prison because the judge doesn't like your face, you have to pay a bribe? A fee which isn't put into official records? They would be able to ask for whatever they want.

This is one of the reasons for poverty all over the world. Global corruption goes all the way to the top in some cases and it harms everyone from there on down.

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