Oil, Diamonds, and Sunlight: Fostering Human Rights through Transparency in Revenues from Natural Resources

By Truelove, Andreanna M. | Georgetown Journal of International Law, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview

Oil, Diamonds, and Sunlight: Fostering Human Rights through Transparency in Revenues from Natural Resources


Truelove, Andreanna M., Georgetown Journal of International Law


Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman. (1)

I. INTRODUCTION

Government corruption provides both an incentive and a means for human rights violations. Corruption provides an incentive for government officials to engage in human rights abuses in order to retain their access to the public coffers. Corruption provides government officials with a source of wealth and power that can be harnessed to inflict human rights abuses on anyone who attempts to stand in their way. It is therefore not surprising that commentators have noted a clear link between government corruption and human rights violations. (2) One of the best ways to combat such corruption is through transparency, for corruption does not grow well in sunlight. And some of the largest sources of the means and fruits of corruption are the industries that extract oil, gas, and minerals in natural resource-rich countries.

Recently, a few non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have started to bring these connections between corruption and the extractive industries (the industries that extract, produce, or mine oil, gas, or minerals) into the public eye. In 2000, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published a report stating that transparency in oil revenue is necessary for the sound economic development of Angola. (3) In commenting on that report, Human Rights Watch added that transparency in oil revenue is a human rights issue in places like Angola, where oil revenues are used to finance civil wars in which hundreds of thousands of people die and over a million people are internally displaced. (4) The director of Transparency International also argues that transparency is needed to combat corruption and promote human rights. (5) As these few organizations have begun to recognize, actors in the international community who are striving to improve human rights could accomplish a great deal by promoting transparency in revenue for extractive industries. Disclosure of all economic benefits that governments and their officials gain from extractive industries is the first step towards addressing the corruption that allows many of the world's most repressive regimes to stay in power and increases their incentives to do so.

This Note examines the links between human rights and corruption, and between corruption and transparency. It then examines the lessons that those seeking greater transparency can learn from current anti-corruption measures and describes some recent proposals for bringing transparency to extractive industries and the governments with which they deal. The Note then proposes and describes the contours of anti-corruption transparency initiatives targeted at extractive industries and the governments with which they do business. Finally, it addresses potential obstacles to implementing initiatives for combating corruption that relate to extractive industries.

II. CORRUPTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS: AN IMPORTANT LINK

What is corruption and why does it matter for human rights? "Corruption is commonly defined as the 'misuse of public power by heads of state, ministers, and top officials for private pecuniary profit.'" (6) There are numerous types of corruption. Examples could include high-level officials receiving payments in exchange for awarding government contracts; low-level bureaucrats requesting payments for providing government services that by law should be free (such as access to water, school, and garbage service); government officials stealing from the government treasury; or officials using government money to consolidate their own power. This Note focuses on a specific type of corruption: the diversion of state revenue from a country's extractive industries sector into the pockets of government elites and into purchases of arms meant solely to subjugate and repress the domestic population or to enrich arms traders who are closely associated with government officials. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Oil, Diamonds, and Sunlight: Fostering Human Rights through Transparency in Revenues from Natural Resources
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.