Press Release

IACHR Issues Report on Corruption and Human Rights

December 31, 2019

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is releasing today its Report on Corruption and Human Rights. The report’s main goal is to look at corruption from a human rights perspective, based on inter-American standards.

In the report, the Commission examines progress, pending challenges, and initiatives to consolidate a regional and national strategy to address the need to fight and eradicate corruption in the Americas. In this document, the IACHR seeks to examine the multidimensional impact of corruption on democracy, the rule of law, and particularly the enjoyment and exercise of human rights in the Americas.

The report stems from Resolution 1/18, issued by the Commission in March 2018, and takes a broad look at the relationship between human rights and the corruption that affects the region.

The Commission is publishing this report in the understanding that corruption is a complex phenomenon that affects the enjoyment and exercise of human rights, weakens governance and democratic institutions, encourages impunity, undermines the rule of law, and increases inequality.

In this report on corruption and human rights, the IACHR seeks to address the various levels on which corruption impacts the effective enjoyment and exercise of human rights. The report also examines the effects of corruption on several specific areas—including freedom of expression and economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights—and on groups who are particularly affected by this issue because they are vulnerable or have historically suffered discrimination.

The IACHR stresses that, to address corruption, it is important to develop and implement—at all levels of government—a series of public policies that enable the consolidation of a comprehensive strategy to fight corruption using a human rights approach. These measures also seek to strengthen institutions, control and reduce spaces where discretion may thrive, and ensure accountability and oversight in public activities.
“Given the regional situation observed by the IACHR through its various mechanisms and the impact that this phenomenon has on the enjoyment and exercise of human rights, this thematic report is a tool that we hope will be useful to examine and address corruption through the Inter-American Human Rights System,” said Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, the IACHR’s President.

“This report enables us to pursue an agenda to fight corruption with a human rights approach, and to put forward a roadmap to develop public policies with a human rights perspective to deal with the effects of corruption in the Americas,” said IACHR Executive Secretary Paulo Abrão.

The Commission values and appreciates all the information provided both by States and by civil society organizations, private individuals, and academics who completed the questionnaire, and the comments and suggestions made by international experts. These contributions proved exceedingly useful to draft this report.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 346/19