Fighting grand corruption: an essential lever to protect human rights worldwide

Paris, Berlin. April 15, 2024. Corruption has far-reaching ramifications that extract heavy political and economic costs and harm the environment and human rights. It exacerbates inequalities and entrenches poverty; those who are vulnerable and marginalised are disproportionately affected. Yet, far from abating, grand corruption –abuse of high-level power benefiting the few at the expense of the many– is on the rise, seriously harming individuals and societies around the world.

Recognition of corruption’s devastating impact on human rights has gained traction, yet corrupt acts typically go unpunished. Moreover, to date, the anti-corruption movement and human rights movement have tended to work separately. Rather than working in silos, the two movements can make more headway through collaborating.

In this spirit, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Transparency International, and Transparency International France have formed a partnership to implement strategies to hold States, individuals, and companies responsible for acts of grand corruption. The organisations’ joint programme "Fighting grand corruption: an essential lever to protect human rights worldwide" benefits from the funding of the French Development Agency (AFD).

In addition to the French chapter of Transparency International, other national chapters of Transparency International and FIDH member organisations in 11 countries are active participants. Critically, the initiative brings together 23 human rights and anti-corruption organisations and facilitates dialogue, collaboration, and exchange of expertise between them.

A cornerstone of the organisations’ strategy is the development of a human rights-based advocacy and methodology guide to document grand corruption. Civil society leaders will be trained to use the guide in their countries and advocate nationally and internationally. Some of the programme’s other key actions include litigation to prosecute acts of grand corruption and advocacy to strengthen global governance on corruption and human rights.

With grand corruption schemes on the rise and kleptocratic elites, organised crime, and corporations capturing parts of state structures for their own interests, it is essential that the human rights movement and anti-corruption movement work together to make tangible advances in fighting grand corruption and preventing related human rights abuses.