U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


Please provide examples of integrating human rights and anti-corruption in development projects.


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.


1. Background

2. Integrating anti-corruption and human rights through the project cycle

3. Illustrative project examples

4. References

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.


There is limited information in the public domain on specific development projects that have intentionally and successfully integrated measures intended to promote anti-corruption and human rights. This paper seeks to provide illustrative ways in which these components can be brought into alignment throughout a project cycle. A few examples of projects have also been included. These range from anti-corruption programmes that have adopted a human rights perspective to human rights initiatives that include an anti-corruption element, as well as other types of thematic development programmes that incorporate both anti-corruption and human rights considerations.


Kaunain Rahman (TI), [email protected]


Aled Williams (U4)

Matthew Jenkins (TI)




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