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Corruption and Human Rights

7 November 2021

TI Ireland is proud to have proposed a resolution on corruption and human rights passed at our international Annual Membership Meeting on 7 November 2021 . Governments must respect fundamental rights when fighting corruption or upholding the rule of law, including freedom of the press and civil society.


TI’s membership meeting declares that the fight against corruption is incompatible with the abuse and neglect of fundamental human rights.

In addition to protecting anti-corruption activists from human rights abuses, we call on governments to, inter alia: end the use of torture, forced confessions, the threat of the use of violence, corporal punishment and the death penalty, as well as arbitrary detention and imprisonment without a fair trial as a means of fighting corruption.

Governments should instead commit themselves to promoting accountability and ending impunity while observing universal democratic and human rights norms, respecting freedom of the press and civil society, and by advancing transparency in politics and public office. Only then, can governments begin to create the conditions for more open, accountable, and prosperous societies.


Corruption is both a cause and symptom of the abuse of human rights.  It denies people of their basic right to education, healthcare and their rights to participate in a government of their choice.

Conversely, the abuse of human-rights undermines long-term efforts to eradicate corruption by denying people of their right to a fair trial or the information they need to hold government to account.

The abuse of human rights – such as the right to freedom of speech and the media - is also often used to cover up corruption. The abuse of human rights instils fear instead of public trust in government. In doing so it undermines the political legitimacy required to build strong institutions and open government.

Equally, anti-corruption campaigns that are not compliant with human rights norms are sometimes aimed at the political enemies of those in power. They can serve to divert attention away from the need for systemic reforms aimed at improving transparency, checking conflicts of interest and holding the most powerful to account.

We will therefore call on all governments to respect fundamental human rights when fighting corruption, and to fight corruption as a means to ending the abuse of human rights.