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310 The first paragraph of the Preamble to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) declares the state parties’ concern “about the seriousness of problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of societies, undermining the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice and jeopardizing sustainable development and the rule of law.”1 Similarly, the Preamble to the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption emphasizes that“corruption threatens the rule of law, democracy and human rights, undermines good governance, fairness and social justice, distorts competition, hinders economic development and endangers the stability of democratic institutions and the moral foundations of society.”2 In other words, the international community recognizes that corruption directly threatens fundamental legal, as well as social, economic, and political, principles. This realization is not new. In 1789, the Preamble to the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen stipulated that “ignorance, oblivion, or contempt” of human rights “are the only causes of public misfortunes” and government corruption.3 It is intuitively and empirically plausible that there is a significant correlation between low levels of development, human rights abuses, and the spread of corruption.4 How exactly this correlation is articulated is open to empirical survey and further analytical inquiry, but this chapter argues that the relationship between human rights and corruption is one that needs to be understood from the perspective of the vulnerable and poor. The protection and empowerment of the vulnerable and disadvantaged is a core objective of a human rights approach, and, given the developmental objectives of 12 Corruption and Human Rights: Exploring the Connection lucy koechlin and magdalena sepúlveda carmona 12 0328-0 ch12.qxd 7/15/09 3:51 PM Page 310 anti-corruption reforms, this objective is implicitly and explicitly central to anti-corruption agendas.While in practice human rights and anti-corruption approaches often operate in isolation from each other, both approaches strengthen the understanding of the interdependencies between corruption, discrimination, and accountability processes. One advantage of examining the links between corruption and human rights is that human rights standards , as established in major international treaties, impose obligations upon states. Focusing on specific human rights helps to identify who is entitled to make claims when acts of corruption occur and who has a duty to take action against corruption and protect those that are harmed by it. As this chapter examines, in the case of Malawi, a human rights approach may help to empower claim holders to demand their rights in relation to corruption . Such an approach can also assist states (including all branches of government) and other public authorities to fulfill their human rights responsibilities at every level. Linking human rights to corruption might also facilitate increased public support for anti-corruption strategies. Despite strong rhetorical commitments to combat corruption, the political impact of anticorruption programs in Malawi has been low. To increase political support for anti-corruption initiatives, it is necessary to build public pressure. Identifying the specific links between corruption and human rights may persuade key actors—public officials, parliamentarians, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, businesspeople , bankers, accountants, the media, and the general public—to take a stronger stand against corruption. This chapter does not assume that a human rights framework provides the only or even the best tool of those that are available. Nonetheless, this chapter analyzes the potential of the human rights framework to have a positive impact in certain areas that are key to anti-corruption reforms. Such a framework amplifies and broadens accountability systems that are supported by anti-corruption reforms. Ultimately, the aim of the chapter is to call for a broader collaboration between the anti-corruption and human rights movements . For this purpose, the chapter first outlines central cornerstones of anti-corruption approaches. Second, the anti-corruption and human rights framework in Malawi is explored for a better understanding of the measures and issues that are facing countries and citizens. Last, the insights drawn from the case of Malawi are discussed with regard to the potential for an anticorruption approach that is enriched with human rights principles and tools to increase the inclusion and protection of discriminated, poor, and vulnerable groups in anti-corruption reforms. Corruption and Human Rights 311 12 0328-0 ch12.qxd 7/15/09 3:51 PM Page 311 An Anti-Corruption Perspective In recent years, many different measures of corruption have been developed, countering the myth that nothing can be done about corruption. In the following...


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