Working Paper 20: Corruption and human rights

It is a fact that states with a high corruption rate (or a high corruption perception) are at the same time those with a bad human rights situation. Beyond this coincidence, the paper seeks to identify a concrete legal relationship between corruption and deficient human rights protection. This seems relevant and practical terms, because the extant international norms against corruption have so far yielded only modest success; their implementation could be improved with the help of human rights arguments and instruments.

This paper therefore discusses a dual question:

  • Can corrupt behaviour be conceptualised as a human rights violation?
  • Should corrupt behaviour be categorised and sanctioned as a human rights violation?

The author's answer is that such a juridic reconstruction is plausible under specific conditions, especially for petty corruption, but that we should be aware of the risks of such reframing of the issue.

About this Working Paper

This paper is part of the Basel Institute on Governance Working Paper Series, ISSN: 2624-9650.

Cover page of Working Paper 20
Date published
Basel Institute on Governance