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Corruption resulting in unequal access to resources: report

Corruption is leading to unequal distribution of land and resources, resulting in human rights violations, according to a working paper [text, PDF; press release] published Monday by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) [official website] and Transparency International (TI) [advocacy website]. According to the report, corruption flourishes where land governance is efficient. "Weak land governance tends to be characterised by low levels of transparency, accountability and the rule of law." Corruption can involve public officials as well as private actors and can "undo the legal and social legitimacy of these actors if they are considered to be too corrupt." The report recommends "build[ing] transparent, effective and accountable land tenure systems," revising land policies, "provid[ing] legal recognition to tenure rights that are considered legitimate but are not correctly protected by law" and "promot[ing] more transparent and effective land certification and registration systems."

Earlier this month, TI released its 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) [report, PDF], again showing some governments failing to protect citizens from corruption [JURIST report], be it abuse of public resources, bribery or secretive decision-making. The CPI scores 183 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption, using data from 17 surveys collected by independent agencies concerning bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, access to information, conflicts of interest and the effectiveness of any anti-corruption campaign at work in a country. New Zealand tops the list with a score of 9.5, followed by Denmark and Finland with 9.4 and Sweden with 9.3. The US again scored 7.1, ranking 24th. Last on the list is Somalia, ranked as the most corrupt country for the fourth year in a row and tied at 1.0 with North Korea, which this year was included in the index for the first time. Two-thirds of all ranked countries scored less than 5.

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