International Corporate Accountability Roundtable

Ensuring land deals are not tainted by corruption


Corruption inhibits land rights in a number of ways.

It can be simply transactional – when government officials accept bribes from a corporation to gain access to land, for example.

It can also be institutional – when decision-making in government bodies such as the police, judiciary, or the executive is skewed so that business or political elites can ignore national laws to seize land without facing the consequences.

Our work explores existing legal frameworks that could help protect land rights and tackle corruption.

Tainted Lands: Corruption in Large-Scale Land Deals

ICAR’s work on land, corruption, and human rights articulates regulatory measures and guidance for investors to ensure that land is acquired or leased in ways that respect human rights, avoiding the taint of corruption. 

Launched in 2016 with Global Witness, the Tainted Lands: Corruption in Large-Scale Land Deals report offers the most comprehensive look to date at how corruption is fueling the global land grabbing crisis, which has seen millions of people displaced from their homes and farmland. The report calls on companies, financial institutions, and governments (of both home and host states) to ensure that land deals are transparent, are corruption-free, and protect the rights of local communities and other stakeholders.