Gemma Aiolfi, Head of Compliance and Collective Action, will explore some thorny areas of anti-corruption and human rights risk assessment and compliance during a forthcoming virtual “pre-evening dialogue” of the UN Global Compact Network in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

The focus is on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with limited resources to address due diligence, and more broadly compliance risks. The topic, though, is relevant to all companies who need to address both corruption and human rights risks in their international business operations.

This report presents the findings of a study regarding the types of Collective Action Initiatives (CAIs) that have formed around anti-slavery and anti-corruption that operate in 15 particular countries, and further focuses on characteristics identified both in terms of what makes initiatives effective. The study was funded by the UK Department for International Development.

The Basel Institute's Vice-President, Prof. Dr. iur. Anne Peters, has published an illuminating paper on "Corruption as a Violation of International Human Rights". 

Published in the European Journal of International Law, the article asks two basic questions:

  • Can we legally view corruption as a violation of human rights?
  • Should we?

Peters' clear writing and examples make this an essential read for anyone concerned about corruption, human rights and the link between the two.

States perceived to be highly corrupt are at the same time those with a poor human rights record. International institutions have therefore assumed a negative feedback loop between both social harms. They deplore that corruption undermines the enjoyment of human rights and, concomitantly, employ human rights as a normative framework to denounce and combat corruption. But the human rights-based approach has been criticized as vague and over-reaching.

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:

The recovery of stolen assets is a fundamental principle of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). By including this element in the said Convention, the international community recognizes the negative impacts on countries and populations deprived of the billions of dollars that are diverted each year by their corrupt leaders and public officials.

In the past decade the prevention of corruption has been recognised as a prerequisite for sustainable and equitable development. Academics, policy-makers and activists working towards such governance reforms have come a long way in the relatively short period since corruption has been actively addressed both in the North and the South.