Twenty-Nine Takeaways From RWI’s Roundtable on Corruption and Human Rights

A recent roundtable held by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Lund, Sweden featured two days of discussions, study, and brainstorming on the connection between anti-corruption work and human rights.

MortenKjaerum“The goal of the roundtable was to identify human rights-based opportunities for the fight against corruption and possibilities for cooperation between different actors in society and to deepen understanding about anti-corruption efforts,” says Morten Kjaerum, Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute.

The roundtable brought together actors from the business world like Telia, Ericsson and Maersk, as well academia, NGOs, and international organisations, such as the UN.

The Institute has produced a brief summary with conclusions and recommendations from the roundtable that you can read below or download in pdf form.

The conclusions and recommendations outline ways to develop this work going forward when it comes to research, education, and in the areas of law, policy, and managerial practice. A full report will follow shortly in the next coming days.


Round table on Anti-Corruption and Human Rights

– How to become mutually reinforcing?


Lund, 13-14 November 2017


Conclusions and recommendations


  1. There is a clear relationship between corruption and enjoyment of human rights and efforts to protect human rights and fight corruption must become more systematic.


  1. Corruption is one of the biggest impediments for the enjoyment of human rights in many parts of the world. Corruption erodes democratic institutions, distorts justice, facilitates impunity and affects social service delivery, thus affecting human rights, such as the right to health and the right to education.


  1. Corruption is not a victim less crime and a Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) can be a valuable tool in the fight against corruption, as it is victim-centered and empowering in the fight against corruption. It can contribute to create a bottom up approach to the fight against corruption as well as increase the stigmatization of being corrupt.


  1. It was noted that human rights standards and principles must be reflected in anti-corruption strategies and interventions.



  1. More data and analytical work is needed to measure the effect of corruption on human rights and ensure a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness and interrelationship between human rights violations and corruption.


  1. More data and evidence on how various anti-corruption efforts around the world are contributing to promoting or hindering human rights.


  1. More research need to be undertaken to understand better the impact of a high human rights awareness in combatting corruption including what an increased stigmatization of act of corruption can contribute.


  1. There is a clear relationship between the level of gender equality and low level of corruption in a country. This relationship should be further analysed.


  1. Research projects should be developed on how corruption is addressed in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and how human rights is being addressed in corruption cases in different national and regional court systems.


  1. Pilot projects should be initiated having researches documenting and analyzing the impact introducing human rights in the fight against corruption.


  1. Education is an important tool in the fight against corruption and it should be explored how anti-corruption education can be strengthened and integrated into other disciplines, including human rights education. It is important to identify the shared principles between anti-corruption and human rights, such as no-discrimination, participation, transparency  and accountability, e.g. to guide educational strategies.


  1. Inspired by the UNODC mapping of the global prevalence of education in anti-corruption a similar mapping was suggested for human rights education in order to get an overview of the potential in a stronger interaction between the two areas and where synergies could be developed.


  1. The Sustainable Development Goals provide a good opportunity and framework to address the relationship between corruption and human rights, but there is a need for an anti-corruption champion in the SDG circle, as well as for mechanisms to integrate an anti-corruption perspective into the individual SDG’s. It must also be recognized that democratic space is important for the implementation of the SDGs.


  1. Local communities play an important role in the fight against corruption: It is imperative to work with corruption at the local level where the interaction between citizens and politicians is higher than at other levels.


  1. The business community and local government can learn from each other on how to prevent corruption. Synergies should be explored between private and public sector initiatives.


  1. It was acknowledged that International Standards such as ISOs and business compliance codes can be an important tool in the fight against corruption and protection of human rights, by facilitating the establishment of effective routines contributing to the fight against corruption and prevention of human rights abuses.


  1. It should be explored how anti-corruption, human rights and corporate legal frameworks can support each other.


  1. It is important to build capacity among National Human Rights Institutions on how to address corruption.


  1. UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies have an important role in the fight against corruption and it should be explored how their role could be strengthened in this respect. When relevant, corruption should be addressed in communications to UN Human Rights Treaty bodies. It should also be explored if we can learn from the Human Rights Treaty Bodies, as regards reparations to human rights victims (non-repetition/follow up on systemic issues).


  1. Practical managerial tools/handbooks that provide clear guidance on how to prevent or act on acts of corruption and prevent human rights abuses should be developed.


  1. Promising practices/case studies should be compiled and distributed to ensure a solid knowledge sharing and stimulation of need steps.


  1. A tool on how to integrate human rights and anti-corruption into UNDP programmes should be developed.


  1. Technology can be an important tool to fight corruption and promote/protect human rights. Different innovate technological solutions should be further explored


  1. The victims have an important role to play in the fight against corruption and methods for engaging victims, including through technology solutions, should be explored.


  1. It was proposed to develop a Global Advocacy Programme on the role of human rights in the fight against corruption.


  1. RWI will elaborate a full report from the round table.


  1. RWI committed itself to organise a follow meeting to the Round Table in the fall of 2018 to take stock of where we are going.


  1. RWI will convey the findings of the roundtable to the International Anti-Corruption Conference, to be held in Copenhagen 22-24 October 2018.


  1. All participants will consider from their particular perspective the above recommendations.
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