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3 Feb 2022

Jon Vrushi & Roberto Martínez B. Kukutschka, Transparency International

Corruption, decline in civil liberties & attacks on human rights defenders are strictly correlated, Transparency International finds


... From the arrests of activists and journalists in Belarus, to the closing of media outlets and civil society organisations in Nicaragua, the deadly violence against protesters in Sudan and the killing of human rights defenders in the Philippines – human rights and democracy are in retreat around the world.

Last year ... [CSOs] highlight[ed] repression of dissent as one of the key global trends in human rights abuses in 2021 and emphasise[d] the attacks on journalists and activists, many of whom were exposing or protesting against corruption...

While all states have a responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of all people, the presence of corruption can weaken a government’s ability to do so by undermining the overall functioning of the state...

[C]orruption and impunity contribute to an unsafe climate for human rights defenders to operate in... out of the 331 cases of murdered human rights defenders in 25 countries in 2020, 98 per cent of those deaths occurred in 23 countries with high levels of public sector corruption, or a CPI score below 45. Moreover, at least 20 of all cases were registered as killings of human rights defenders dealing with anti-corruption issues...

[P]rivate actors can rely on bribery and/or personal connections to ensure that the state turns a blind eye to human rights abuses. If the state fails to prevent a company, which has made a large campaign donation, from polluting a water source on which people depend on and puts their health at risk, the state is effectively failing in its obligation to protect...

Explore our Database of attacks on HRDs and SLAPPs