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Status: Published

Corruption and human rights: making the connection (2009)



Corruption Making the ConnectionIn recent years, governments and international organisations have taken many initiatives to reduce corruption. However, the issue has rarely been analysed from the point of view of human rights. Therefore, in 2007 the Council commenced a project focused on the connection between corruption and human rights. The project aims to assist organisations that prosecute or support anti-corruption policies to apply human rights effectively to strengthen their programmes; to make human rights bodies and mechanisms more accessible to those who work to end corruption; and to make anti-corruption methods and practices more accessible to human rights advocates.

This report, Corruption and Human Rights: Making the Connection, develops a conceptual framework enabling users to describe, in specific terms, how violations of human rights may be linked to particular acts of corruption. It sets out why those working on corruption and those working on human rights have reasons to cooperate, and delineates the main features of the two traditions of practice. It also builds links between specific acts of corruption and specific violations of rights – recognising that the links are sometimes indirect and that in some cases corruption may not violate human rights, strictly understood.

Using a conceptual framework for assessing when particular acts of corruption violate human rights, this report shows how organisations can promote human rights while working to end corruption.

While the report was initially launched in February 2009 and has been well received by civil society organisations, human rights advocates, anti-corruption campaigners, governments and private enterprise alike, in June 2009 it was taken one step forward: the report was re-launched with the involvement of Transparency International. Consequently, the report has become an invaluable resource available to the global network of more than 90 established Transparency International national chapters and chapters-in-formation.

The report has also been translated into four other languages. In a joint enterprise with the Mobilising Action Against Corruption in Armenia, operated by Casals and Associates, the report has been translated into Armenian. A Spanish translation has been prepared in association with the Mexico-based Escuela de Graduados en Administración Pública y Política del Tecnológico de Monterrey. In a joint endeavour with the Office of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, a Thai version has also been made available. The report in Serbian was made in collaboration with Fund for an Open Society – Serbia.

In October 2010, the ICHRP published a second report on corruption and human rights. Integrating Human Rights in the Anti-Corruption Agenda: Challenges, Possibilities and Opportunities goes beyond the conceptual framework of the first report to tackle practical issues of implementation.

Research team



“Outstanding contribution to knowledge and information on these topics.” Frank Vogl, co-founder and Board Member, Transparency International

“This report gives a very clear illustration of what corruption really means and represents, and what implications and damage corruption may cause in the field of human rights and, inevitably, for the society at large.” Ramiz Huremagic, criminologist

“The report will help to establish a community of practice, and will encourage the collection and dissemination of anticorruption learning. Most importantly, the paper will be a helpful reference to engage both governmental and non-governmental actors in a dialogue on human rights and anticorruption policy issues.” Gerardo Berthin, Senior Governance Advisor, Casals & Associates Inc.