Thursday, March 6, 2008

Is corruption a violation of the fundamental human rights?

One lawyer thinks so- Prof. Ndiva Kofele-Kale;

Q.A common thread in your writings is that corruption by high-ranking government officials is a violation of the fundamental human rights of citizens in developing countries. What is your response to those who argue that this is pushing the concept of human rights too far because corruption is essentially a non-violent crime?

A. One could say the same for the right to freedom of thought which is also a non-violent crime. In the event, I do not accept the characterization of grand corruption as a non-violent crime because the violence it wrecks on the economies of victim states as well as their populations is undeniable. When you live in a country where your Government spends less than 2 percent, or a miserly $106 per capita, of the national budget for health service; where 30% of the population is unemployed, 4 of every 10 children under age 5 suffer from malnutrition; where for every 1,000 babies born 101 die at birth, few ever get to visit a doctor since your country can only boast 125 physicians, only 44 percent of the population has access to potable water; and your President criss-crosses the globe in a $30 million state-of-the-art airplane and maintains $700 million in several foreign bank accounts for that rainy day while his unemployed wife has access to a bank credit card with a $10,000 daily spending limit and their adult sons own multimillion mansions in the Cote d’Azur, it would be hard to convince this person that official corruption is a non-violent crime!

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