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Anti-corruption and human rights: Integration in development programmes

Mainstreaming anti-corruption and human rights into development programming can help improve fiduciary safeguards (i.e., prevent loss of development funds through corruption and embezzlement) and ensure that the interests of rightsholders are sufficiently upheld in line with the “Do No Harm” principle. This Helpdesk Answer provides illustrative examples from different settings to showcase how development practitioners can capitalise on the mutually reinforcing elements of anti-corruption and human rights work. The paper presents how various projects have built on the links between the two agendas to tackle illicit financial flows (Kenya, South Africa), strengthen accountability at the local level (Kazakhstan), advance actions against impunity (Myanmar), prevent and curb corruption (Indonesia, South Africa), improve access to water and sanitation (Philippines), and improve peace and security (Honduras), among others.

15 November 2022
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Anti-corruption and human rights: Integration in development programmes

Main points

  • Corruption is widely acknowledged to undermine not only a range of human rights but also to corrode the rule of law and democratic norms. Conversely, studies show that upholding human rights is important if anti-corruption interventions are to have a meaningful and sustained impact.
  • In integrating anti-corruption efforts across projects, donors can both protect their own finances from corruption and work to improve partner governments’ anti-corruption capabilities.
  • A central theme in mainstreaming human rights in development assistance is applying a human rights based approach (HRBA).
  • Illustrative project examples show cases in which efforts to curb corruption are aligned with measures to promote human rights.

Cite this publication

Rahman, K.; (2022) Anti-corruption and human rights: Integration in development programmes. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2022:17)

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About the author

Kaunain Rahman

Kaunain received her Master's in Corruption and Governance from The Centre for the Study of Corruption at the University of Sussex in the UK where her focus area of research was corruption in international business. She works as Research Coordinator at Transparency International (TI), and her main responsibilities lie with the Anti-Corruption Helpdesk.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)