Corruption and Human Rights Law in Africa, By Kolawole Olaniyan

This important new book provides a framework for complementarity between promoting and protecting human rights and combating corruption. The chapters make three major points regarding the relationship between corruption and human rights law.

First, corruption per se is a human rights violation, insofar as it interferes with the right of the people to dispose of their natural wealth and resources and thereby increases poverty and frustrates socio-economic development.

Second, corruption leads to a multitude of human rights violations.

Third, the book demonstrates that human rights mechanisms have the capacity to provide more effective remedies to victims of corruption than can other criminal and civil legal mechanisms.

The book takes up one of the pervasive problems of governance–large-scale corruption–to examine its impact on human rights and the degree to which a human rights approach to confronting corruption can buttress the traditional criminal law response. It examines three major aspects of human rights in practice–the importance of governing structures in the implementation and enjoyment of human rights, the relationship between corruption, poverty and underdevelopment, and the threat that systemic poverty poses to the entire human rights edifice.

The book is a very significant contribution to the literature on good governance, human rights and the rule of law in Africa.

PUBLISHER: Hart Publishing
EXTENT: 337 pages
COVER:  Hardback

How to get a copy?  Click here

Endorsements for the book

“Kolawole Olaniyan, as a well known and respected human rights activist in the African human rights system, is well placed to write on this topic. The issue is contemporary and politically relevant and a book which focuses on the legal framework in the African continent is a very welcome addition to the literature and debate in this area.”

Professor Rachel Murray
Director, Human Rights Implementation Centre
University of Bristol


This study on the effects of grand corruption on human rights in Africa demonstrates the author’s mastery of complex jurisprudential and theoretical discourses. His review of the existing literature is extensive, the doctrinal analysis rigorous and the treatment of the subject innovative. Dr. Olaniyan’s willingness to introduce fresh eyes to the ways in which doctrine contributes to an understanding of seemingly mundane problems lays the foundation for fertile trajectories from which future scholars can launch exciting inquiries on the relationship between corruption and human rights. Overall, this book makes an important and valuable contribution to the growth and understanding of the corruption/human rights discourse as it is presently constructed.

Ndiva Kofele-Kale,

University Distinguished Professor of Law, SMU Dedman School of Law, Dallas, USA


Kolawole Olaniyan, a leading African rights scholar-activist, has written a deeply penetrating and pioneering book on the causes and horrendous effects of corruption in Africa. The work could n;t come at a more timely period as Africa is poised to surge due to the enormous natural resources being discovered there. But dramatic prosperity, which is expected to lift the continent from underdevelopment, simply wont happen unless leaders heed Olaniyan’s bold call to curb corruption, respect basic human rights, and create democratic government.

Makau Mutua
Dean & SUNY Distinguished Professor
Floyd H. & Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar


“In Corruption and Human Rights Law in Africa Dr. Kolawole Olaniyan has brought fresh thinking into an area often neglected or not emphasized particularly in developing countries. Including a human rights approach in the fight against corruption as against the strictly and traditionally law-based approach is not only scholarly but innovative. The book makes a meaningful contribution to the field and the literature on the intersection between corruption and the lack of realization of human rights, particularly socio-economic rights. I commend Dr. Olaniyan for his fine work. Academics, researchers, policy makers and activists will find the book very useful in their various work areas.”

Professor Vincent O. Nmehielle

Professor of Law and Head of the Wits Programme on Law, Justice & Development in Africa, University of Witwatersrand School of Law, Johannesburg; and Legal Counsel of the African Union Commission, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


” Mr Kolawole Olaniyan, one of the leading African human rights activists and renowned scholars, in his well written and researched book on the effects of corruption on the peoples of Africa, has gone an extra mile in bringing this social cancer to the attention of African leaders and people. Mr Olaniyan has most effectively and brilliantly demonstrated the interface between corruption and the protections that are provided by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, a Treaty that protects and promotes human and peoples’ rights in Africa. The book is a scholarly masterpiece, an instructive and timely resource which is a must read for states, non governmental organizations, business, students and everybody who respects and promotes human rights and development, especially at this point in time when Africa is marching seriously towards self sufficiency. The book could not have come at a better time.”

H.E. Judge Sanji Monageng,

1st Vice-President
Presidency International Criminal Court and former chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights


“Corruption is a scourge of the world today, damaging human rights and deepening poverty and inequality. Kolawole Olaniyan has powerfully portrayed corruption as a violation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. In this timely work, Olaniyan shows how the Charter can serve as a solid legal framework to complement the traditional but often less effective criminal law instrument against corruption. The book focuses on Africa but its legal analysis will resonate wherever corruption exists. This book is an important contribution to the corruption and human rights debate– and hopefully should help create change.”

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General


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