Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council – 22nd Regular Session

Panel on the Negative Impact of Corruption on the Enjoyment of Human Rights

13 March 2013

Efforts to combat corruption and to promote human rights seek the same end: transparent, accountable and responsive governments providing economic, social and political opportunities equally to all people.

Australia agrees that corruption can have a devastating impact on human rights. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leading to a loss of confidence in democratic institutions and, ultimately, discourages citizens from exercising their civil and political rights. Corruption also diverts resources from important services like schools and hospitals, which are essential for the realisation of basic economic and social rights.

The Australian Government is committed to effective means of combatting corruption through the Australian aid program. Effective governance is one of the five strategic goals of the Australian aid program, under which Australia works with its partners to support their efforts to tackle corruption, improve transparency and accountability and enhance human rights. In 2012-13, Australia will provide $886 million in development assistance to support effective governance programs.

In Indonesia, the Australian Federal and Family Courts partnered with the Indonesian Supreme Court to make its decisions more transparent. Since 2007, 260,000 court decisions have been put online, making it easier for people in the community to access decisions and understand the court system, while also making the court system more accountable.

The Australian Government also works with partner countries in the Asia-Pacific Region to help them strengthen laws and processes to combat transnational crime, including corruption, and to enhance legal skills and organisational capacity in legal policy and legislative development.

Australia also helps civil society to reduce corruption, including:

  • providing support to Transparency International’s (TI) work in the Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America ($18.2 million from 2011 to 2015). Australia has funded the opening of nine Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres in South Asia and the Pacific, which provide legal advice to victims and witnesses of corruption, empowering them to advocate for more transparent and accountable government
  • Australia is the largest donor to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which promotes revenue transparency in the mining, gas and petroleum sectors ($17.45 million from 2007 to 2015). EITI enables revenues raised from natural resources to benefit a country’s people by being directed to spending on health, education and other development priorities.

Australia is a party to both the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. These international conventions play a key role in the fight against corruption, as they provide a framework for countries’ efforts to promote the rule of law, which is also critical to the enjoyment of human rights.

Australia works with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the UN Development Program (UNDP) to help countries ratify, implement and review compliance with UNCAC ($26.4 million from 2009 to 2015). Australian assistance is supporting these UN agencies to help Bhutan, the Maldives, Mongolia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Vietnam self-assess compliance with the Convention, with participation by government, civil society and the private sector.

Australia is also a key member of the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, and participated in the negotiation and development of the G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan.

We have also actively participated in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Anti Corruption Working Group and the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions.