WASHINGTON: The Biden administration on Tuesday named Indian social activist and anti-graft crusader Anjali Bhardwaj for a newly instituted International Anticorruption Champions Award that it said was aimed at emphasizing commitment to truth, transparency, and accountability in “a mission that we must live at home and exemplify abroad.”
Announcing the award, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said the 12 individuals recognized for the award, including Bhardwaj, have worked tirelessly, often in the face of adversity, to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries. Biden administration, he said, recognizes that “we will only be successful in combating these issues by working in concert with committed partners, including courageous individuals who champion anti-corruption efforts and countries working to fulfill their commitments to international anti-corruption standards.”
Blinken said United States enforces “one of the most robust anti-corruption frameworks in the world” and was the first to criminalize foreign bribery and, in partnership with foreign counterparts, has recovered and returned more than $1 billion in stolen public assets in the past two years alone. Washington uses use a range of tools to promote accountability for corrupt individuals, combat impunity globally, and engage in multilateral fora to fight corruption and strengthen citizen engagement, he maintained, adding that it will defeat corruption by implementing sound reforms consistent with international anticorruption commitments; developing transparent, accountable institutions; and empowering citizens, journalists, and civil society organizations to help defeat this global threat to security and democracy.
Honorees for the award are from Albania, Ecuador, Guatemala, Iraq, Libya and Ukraine among other countries.
Bhardwaj, is a co-convenor of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) and a founding member of Satark Nagrik Sangathan. Her activism helped drive the Right to Information Act 2005, the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011, The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, and the Grievance Redress Bill among other legislation.