Right to Information activist Anjali Bhardwaj was on Tuesday honoured by the United States with the newly-constituted International Anti-Corruption Champions Award.
Bhardwaj is the founder of the Satark Nagrik Sangathan, a Delhi-based citizens’ group working to promote accountability and transparency in government functioning. “Under her leadership, SNS created legislative report cards and tracked the performance of representatives across a series of categories, defining roles and responsibilities in their role as public servants,” the US State Department said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the award recognised individuals “who have worked tirelessly, often in the face of adversity, to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries”.
Besides Bhardwaj, the award recipients included Ardian Dvorani of Albania, Diana Salazar of Ecuador, Sophia Pretrick of the Federated States of Micronesia, Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro of Guatemala, Ibrahima Kalil Gueye of Guinea, Dhuha A Mohammed of Iraq, Bolot Temirov of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla of Libya, Victor Sotto of The Philippines, Francis Ben Kaifala of Sierra Leone, and Ruslan Ryaboshapka of Ukraine.
Blinken said that the 12 anti-corruption activists served as inspiration for their counterparts pursuing ideals across the world. He also reaffirmed US President Joe Biden’s commitment towards combating corruption.
“Around the world, corruption threatens security and stability, hinders economic growth, undermines democracy and human rights, destroys trust in public institutions, facilitates transnational crime, and siphons away public and private resources,” Blinken said. “The Biden Administration recognizes that we will only be successful in combating these issues by working in concert with committed partners, including courageous individuals who champion anticorruption efforts and countries working to fulfill their commitments to international anticorruption standards.”
Bhardwaj took to Twitter to thank the US government for the honour. “This is a recognition of the collective effort of people and groups across the country who hold power to account,” she said.