Working Paper No 20: Corruption and Human Rights (incl. Spanish translation)

Prof. Dr. Anne Peters
Publication year: 

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 protec- tion. 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? My 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.