(Washington) - United States Helsinki Commission Chairman Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) returned to Washington this week after successfully pushing for a measure to combat international crime and corruption in the expansive 55-nation OSCE region.
Campbell sponsored a resolution at the tenth annual Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe meeting in the French National Assembly in Paris, calling for lawmakers abroad to enact specific legislation designed to combat international crime and corruption.
The resolution also urges the OSCE Ministerial Council, expected to meet in the Romanian capital of Bucharest this November, to consider practical means of promoting cooperation among the participating States in combating corruption and international crime.
"Widespread corruption is a threat to the stability and security of societies,” Campbell said. “International crime and corruption undermines democracy and jeopardizes social, political and economic development. It hinders economic development, inflates the costs of doing business, and undermines the legitimacy of the government and public trust."
As Chairman of the Helsinki Commission, Campbell led a delegation of U.S. Senators and Representatives to the OSCE PA, a gathering of nearly 300 parliamentarians, including the heads of seven parliaments.
The international crime and corruption resolution supports the criminalization of corruption and promotes effective law enforcement agencies that prosecute corruption. Campbell’s resolution also encourages a legal framework for commerce, including anti-bribery laws, commercial codes that incorporate international standards for business practices and protection of intellectual property rights.
Chairman Campbell used the opportunity to focus his efforts toward improving the climate for American businesses operating overseas.
A former deputy sheriff, Chairman Campbell has a particular interest in the affects of international crime and corruption on American businesses and their employees. Campbell met with Paris law enforcement officials and American-owned businesses operating in France and elsewhere in Europe.
Campbell also met with Mr. Michael Delpuech, Chief of Staff for the Director of Paris Police. The two discussed additional measures that can be taken against international crime and corruption and supported increased collaboration between French law enforcement officials and their American counterparts to fight crime.
"Corruption among government officials at any level in any country negatively affects the United States when businesses suffer losses at the hands of illicit actions by foreign leaders," Campbell added. "It is incumbent upon parliamentarians from each of the OSCE's 55 participating States to enact and implement legislation to combat corruption at every level."
Chairman Campbell, the only American Indian currently serving in the United States Senate, also sponsored the first amendment in the Assembly’s ten-year history acknowledging the plight of indigenous peoples.
Campbell’s amendment urges OSCE participating States to promote social, educational and economic opportunity for indigenous peoples, many of whom have suffered from centuries of discrimination and isolation, and to foster community, economic, and business development in their communities.
The Declaration of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, including Chairman Campbell’s resolution on the international crime and corruption is located on the Internet at http://www.osce.org/pa.
The United States Helsinki Commission by law monitors and encourages progress in implementing provisions of the Helsinki Accords. The Commission, created in 1976, is composed of nine Senators, nine Representatives and one official each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.