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Thematic reports

A/HRC/40/59: Report on the relationship between torture and corruption


17 January 2019

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In his report, the Special Rapporteur examines corruption-related torture and ill-treatment. He does this by identifying:

(a) the basic characteristics of corruption, torture and ill-treatment;
(b) the general relationship between corruption and torture or ill-treatment;
(c) the predominant patterns of causal interaction; and
(d) the systemic governance failures conducive to corruption and torture or ill-treatment.

The Special Rapporteur recommends that all States:

  • adopt and implement strict policies of zero tolerance for both corruption and torture or ill-treatment throughout all branches and levels of public authority;
  • proactively integrate their anti-torture and anti-corruption policies and practices, including through mutual mainstreaming;  
  • establish and maintain accessible, well-resourced and fully independent monitoring, oversight and accountability mechanisms for the prevention of corruption and of torture or ill-treatment;
  • focus their efforts specifically on contexts particularly prone to corruption and torture or ill-treatment, such as extra-custodial use of force, places of deprivation of liberty, policies and practices related to asylum and migration, and the administration of justice.


Corruption not only hinders the effective implementation of human rights obligation, but also creates an environment conducive to human rights abuses, including torture and ill-treatment.

The mandate of the Special Rapporteur has long recognized that “corrupt and malfunctioning criminal justice systems are a root cause of torture and ill-treatment of detainees.” In 2014, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment produced a seminal report highlighting the correlation between corruption and torture or ill-treatment in places of detention (CAT/C/52/2, paras. 72–100). In parallel, there is a growing body of legal and policy analysis exploring the interrelations between corruption and human rights abuses more generally. For example, in its 2015 report, the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee recommended that the special procedures of the Council should consider paying attention to the linkage between corruption and human rights (A/HRC/28/73, para. 52).

Furthermore, in its resolution 37/19, the Human Rights Council recognized the importance of understanding the interrelation between corruption and torture or ill-treatment, and invited the Special Rapporteur and other relevant special procedures to take this question into account in future work.

Additional information

  • Statement of the Special Rapporteur on Torture to the Human Rights Council

Issued By:

Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

Delivered To:

the HRC at its 40th session, February-March 2019