corruption and human rights

Corruption Impeding Realisation of Human Rights

Corruption is one of the biggest impediments globally for the realisation of human rights. In recent years, the institute has been expanding its efforts to address the relationship between corruption and human rights.

This week, the institute is participating in the eight intersessional meeting of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Prevention of Corruption in Vienna. The working group meeting was convened by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Since its establishment in 2009, the group has held one meeting per year during which its participants exchange information and experiences, present actions taken by States parties, discuss specific substantive topics as well as the implementation of resolutions dealing with the prevention of corruption, and take recommendations to be presented to the Conference of the States Parties, which is the main policy-making body of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

RWI’s Mikael Johansson, who leads the Institute’s anti-corruption work, delivered a statement today in Vienna. “It is possible to argue that there is a correlation between the respect for human rights and the rule of law on the one hand and the level of corruption in society on the other hand,” he said. “In this sense human rights implementation contributes to reducing corruption in society.”

Below you can read his address in its entirety.

“Mr. Chair, distinguished participants,

“I would like to start by thanking the panellists, who through their excellent presentations laid the ground for this discussion and gave us several ideas to bring with us in our work to promote corruption free societies.

“The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian law is an independent academic institution established at Lund University, in Sweden, in 1984. The Institute’s mission is to contribute to a wider understanding of, and respect for, human rights and international humanitarian law. Our vision is just and inclusive societies with the effective realisation of human rights for all. We maintain offices in Amman, Beijing, Istanbul, Jakarta, Lund, Nairobi, Phnom Penh and Stockholm. Today, we have programmes and convening power covering more than 40 countries throughout the world. We are since 1994 members of the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network of Institutes, known to many of you as the PNI.

“Academic education is at the core of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute. It plays a crucial role for the development of societies based on human rights and the rule of law and in fostering the leaders of tomorrow. In this context, it is more than once that I have seen our alumni from throughout the world representing their states at the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

“Starting with a master programme in cooperation with the faculty of law at Lund University in Sweden, the Institute has since the beginning of the 1990s been involved in the creation of numerous human rights courses, programmes, research and resource centres, and academic networks throughout the world, including in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

“Our comprehensive work with human rights education in particular involves supporting the development of capacity with academic institutions to plan, implement and deliver human rights education and contribute to its institutionalisation. Curricula development, teacher training, development of text books and literature donations are a few examples of activities included in the support.

“It is possible to argue that there is a correlation between the respect for human rights and the rule of law on the one hand and the level of corruption in society on the other hand. In this sense human rights implementation contributes to reducing corruption in society.

“Thus, instilling knowledge on international human rights standards, principles and values – such as empowerment, non-discrimination and equality, participation and inclusion, integrity, transparency and accountability – as well as addressing their relevance in the fight against corruption, can play an important role as a preventive measure in the fight against corruption.

“As a consequence, education, training and awareness-raising programmes on human rights should be promoted at all levels in society, including at academic institutions and professional training institutions, such as justice academies. In line with this we should also consider what new innovative approaches we can develop through education, training and awareness-raising to combat corruption and subsequently promote the development of societies that are based on a culture of human rights and the rule of law.

“The Raoul Wallenberg Institute will during the coming years prioritize its efforts to address the relationship between corruption and human rights. The objective is to identify human rights based opportunities for the fight against corruption and possibilities for cooperation between different actors in society.

For this purpose, the Institute will continue to work in close cooperation with and support efforts by academic institutions, but also with National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI’s) and justice sector institutions, including justice academies, throughout the world, while at the same time expanding partnerships to other actors such as anti-corruption bodies, local authorities, the business community and the media.

Thank you.”

Read more about our work in this area: Preventing Corruption through Human Rights.