The "New Haven Declaration"

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Global Financial Integrity (GFI) released today a statement -- dubbed the New Haven Declaration -- which debuts a new partnership between humans rights and financial transparency advocacy groups.  Today's announcement follows a meeting of prominent human rights and financial transparency organizations at Yale University in early December, 2009.  The groups discussed the link between illicit financial practices, secrecy in global finance and their adverse impact on human rights.

"The links between human rights and financial transparency are undeniable," said GFI Director Raymond Baker.  "An estimated $1 trillion is siphoned out of poor countries annually.  Further, some 18 million people die each year from causes stemming from economic deprivation.  Of these, ten million are children under the age of five who die from diseases for which vaccines are available."

"The New Haven Declaration makes clear that the solution to these interconnected problems lies in increased transparency and accountability in the global financial system," said Baker.

Signed by such groups as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam, Global Financial Integrity, the Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, the Open Society Institute Justice Initiative, Tax Justice Network, and the National Council of Churches, the following statement "represents a vanguard partnership in human rights, economic development, global poverty alleviation, and global financial accountability," said Baker.

The statement and list of signatories follows:

New Haven Declaration On Human Rights and Financial Integrity

Human rights and international financial integrity are intimately linked.  Where poverty is pervasive, civil, political, and economic rights often go unrealized.  Today, large outflows of illicit money - many times larger than all development assistance - greatly aggravate poverty and oppression in many developing countries.

Illicit money leaves poorer countries through a global shadow financial system comprising tax havens, secrecy jurisdictions, disguised corporations, anonymous trust accounts, fake foundations, trade mispricing, and money-laundering techniques. Much of this money is permanently shifted into western economies.

Reducing these illicit outflows requires greater transparency and integrity in the global financial system. Achieving this is a prerequisite to creating an economic framework that is open, accountable, fair, and beneficial for all.

We call upon the United Nations, the G8, G20, WTO, IMF, World Bank, and other international fora, as well as on national governments, world leaders, faith groups and civil society organizations to recognize the linkage between human rights and financial transparency. We further call for decisive steps to ensure that developing countries can retain their resources for sustainable growth and poverty alleviation, which they must achieve if the human rights of all people are to be realized.

The undersigned individuals and organizations shall be working together in the coming months to pursue this agenda and look to add additional voices to this effort.

Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
Oxfam
Global Financial Integrity
Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics
Open Society Institute Justice Initiative
Asia Initiatives
Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development
Tax Justice Network
Christian Aid
National Council of Churches
Harrington Investments, Inc.
Asociaci??n Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia
Thomas Pogge, Yale University
Robert Hockett, Cornell University
Frank Pasquale, Seton Hall

I have now added my name to that list.

Click here to read Raymond Baker, Thomas Pogge, and Arvind Ganesan's op-ed in the Huffington Post introducing the New Haven Declaration.