The Effets of Corruption

Corruption is a term which has different definitions according to the context where it is applied and is regarded as a problem of administration. Currently, corruption has emerged as a field of study due to its impact as a social problem, as well as, consequences to an individual. Thus, the relationship between corruption and human rights cannot be underestimated. In most societies, corruption is considered as an illegal practice but has been used as a vice to widen the gap between the rich and the poor. However, it is vital to understand that there are international laws and conventions which are legally binding international anti-corruption tools, such as, the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which requires its member states to implement anticorruption measures which adversely affect the laws, institutions, as well as, practices, in order to, promote the prevention of corrupt practices, criminalization and law enforcement, cooperation between states, asset recovery, technical assistance and information, and put in place effective mechanisms for implementation.

The Algerian Government established Algerian Legislation ‘Law 06-01’ which deals with the prevention of corruption in the country. In addition, the government also established the National Commission for the Prevention and Fight against Corruption, in 2006. Recently, Algeria was ranked in position 112 among the 178 nations, which was evaluated by the Transparency International with a score of 2.9, in the corruption perception index. In spite of the efforts to reduce corruption, it still remains a national disaster that still faces Algeria; hence making the citizens to be deprived of their basic human rights.

Housing is worldwide known dilemma in Algeria. Adequate housing is a basic human right that everyone needs in order to survive. However, the current state of corruption has made Algerians to lack the means of acquiring adequate housing. This has been coupled with the inequitable distribution of wealth, poverty, illiteracy and lack of awareness that adequate housing is a basic human right.

The common characteristic of both the global and local community is the efforts to ensure that people have access to adequate housing. However, in the Algerian context the opportunities for adequate housing have remained unrealizable as a result of corruption. This calls for an urgent need of human rights to protect Algerians from impoverished living conditions. The human right to adequate housing is enlisted in International Law. This right can be traced to the Universal declaration of Human Rights which led to the reaffirmation to the right to adequate housing. The major component to the right to adequate housing is the habitability of the housing unit, which are supposed to comply with the International Health and Safety Standards. The right to adequate housing provides additional instrument in improving the living conditions hence, protecting the health of people and the community at large.

The right to adequate housing is the most integrated and integrating among the socio-economic tights in the body of human rights. The right to adequate housing is conceptualized under the rubric of a decent standard of living. Therefore, access to adequate is an important basic need to enable citizens fulfils their lives beyond simple survival. Adequate housing fulfils the physical needs by providing a gathering area as well as, communal space for the human family to be recognized as the basic unit of the wider society.

Research Objective and study Questions

The main objective of the study is to address the extent to which corruption affects the provision of adequate housing in Algeria. Based on the objective, the researcher seeks to find answers to the following set of questions:

What is corruption in theory and practice?
How does corruption relate to and violate Human Rights?
What is the legal text about corruption in the Algerian legislation and International Conventions?
What are the legal rights for the right to descent housing?
What do international bodies say about the right to descent housing?
What are the steps taken by the Algerian Government to prevent corruption after the issue of the anti-corruption law?
As party to various international conventions, do Algeria’s existing legislative and policy measures adequately ensure access to adequate housing?
What measures can the Algerian government take to solve this situation?

Justification of the Study

The current crisis facing the housing sector in Algeria is one of the biggest social problems. According to African Economic Outlook (2007), the provision of adequate housing has become a major issue in the country despite the fact that Algeria had been creating urgent need for a comprehensive housing policy aimed at providing descent housing for all income groups. The right to housing in international law was constituted as part of the batch of rights already conceptualized under the general rights to decent standards of living. Therefore, the right to adequate housing poses a number of questions in terms of its obligations placed on states and governments. Give that Algeria is party to the major human rights instruments which guarantees for adequate housing, it is necessary to determine how far the country has gone in ensuring the realization of the right to adequate housing. Consequently, as a party to international human rights instruments, attendance obligations are placed upon the Algerian government towards the realization of the need for adequate housing to all income groups.

With retards to the provision of adequate housing, the duty to respect implies for the state to have a positive duty towards avoiding corruption, the duty to protect places a duty on the government to create and foster a framework through legislation, policy, as well as, other solutions to enable citizens be enlightened and realize the importance of adequate housing. On the other hand, the duty to promote focuses on the recognition by the government of the multifaceted nature of human rights dimension of adequate housing and to take appropriate action which promotes the legal and practical solutions towards the realization of the rights to adequate housing; including promotion of tolerance, raising awareness as well as, building of infrastructure. Lastly the duty to fulfil encompasses attitude on the part of the government to fight corruption and to make more efforts to ensure that citizens have adequate housing as part of the socio-economic rights, which are to be undertaken to maximize the available resources and the realization of their potential to be achieved in a progressive basis.

Corruption and Human Rights

There is an International body governing the right of everyone to adequate standards of living. However, there are obstacles to the right to adequate housing on a global scale. Millions of people are still not adequately housed. This is evident since millions of people are staying on health threatening conditions which are not able to uphold their human rights and their dignity. The right to adequate housing is applicable in all states; since most states least ratified at least a single international treaty referred, to adequate housing through international declarations. In addition, there is increased attention which has been paid to the right to adequate housing, comprising of the various human rights treaty bodies and other human rights mechanisms. According to the United Nations Committee on Economics, Social and Cultural Rights, the rights to adequate housing should not be interpreted shallowly, but should be considered as a basic human right to thrive in a healthy place. This includes a place where there is peace, security and dignity.

In spite of all the programs which reflect an effort to manage and contain the housing crisis in Algeria, it is clear that the failure of the housing policies is deeply rooted in corruption in the distribution and selection of the houses. According to reports from the government officials in the public housing sector, it is evident that corrupt practices have made many individuals benefit from many housing units and then resell them at higher prices. This has resulted into an increase in price of the housing units making the low income to have no option of adequate housing. This is an issue which has spread whereas the mechanism to assess and monitor housing ownership has all been installed. Corruption is a social problem which has been identifiers, together with the weak control has led to major faults which affect the housing programs in Algeria.

Corruption is practiced in various ways; for instance, the fact that the responsibility of distributing the available housing units are done by administrative authorities; hence, excluding the civil society from the distribution as well as, control mechanism. The increased corruption and weak control mechanisms are devastating factor to the national effort, and mostly to the housing policy. Therefore, it is clear corruption in the distribution of the housing units will continue to trigger many protests as they occur particularly when the administrative authorities provide the names for the various housing programs. Thus, the corrupt patterns are a threat to national security as well as, social stability and require government as well as the civil society for intervention.



Housing in the world has become a major problem as a result of increased population in the world. This has led to rise in corruption in the public sector housing. The increased population has made the private sector to escalate their housing prices. The public sector housing in Algeria has a capacity of six million people which cannot meet the escalating demand for houses in the country. This has resulted to the shifting of the attention of housing demand from the private to the public sector. A decrease in demand creates problems in the public housing demand since they cannot meet the needs. This therefore calls for an increase in the supply for houses which involves construction of new houses.

Despite methods and projects put in place to settle the housing sector in the settle the problem of housing in the sector, it has been noted that there exists a major problem, corruption, which hinders the achievement of the goal of meeting the escalated demand? Some senior public housing officers confess the fact some people gain some personal benefit from the public houses units and end up reselling them at high prices. The resulting effect of this is that houses in the upscale neighbourhood of Algeria capital to be more expensive than similar houses in Spain.

Defining corruption is not as simple as one may recognize its occurrence, as well as, consequences. In addition, corruption differs fro one region to the other. In addition, the causes and effects of corruption are different depending on the regional context. Therefore, it is not easy to provide a tentative definition of the term. Corruption is considered as a universal problem without universal definition. Even though the concept lacks universally agreed definition, there are various ways in which the term may be defined. In most cases, the terms refer to illegal act that involves the abuse of a public trust or office for some selfish gains. However, the definition has two limitations in the current understanding of corruption. The main difference is that the term used in the definition only deals with corruption in the public sector. Therefore, the difference is that it excludes corrupt acts in the in the private sector. According to Transparency International (TI) corruption refers to the misuse of entrusted power for private or selfish gains. On the other hand, the other definition provided by the World Bank states that corruption is an abuse of public authority for the purpose of acquiring personal gain. However, for the purpose of this study, corruption will be considered to refer to the misuse of entrusted power for private gain against the rights of others and giving officials undeserved benefit or advantage.

Corruption occurs from the inception of the construction of new houses. The demand for new houses in the public sector is downward sloping. Public contracts require tendering them to the public so as to ensure that public works are fairly distributed to the public. The tendering process should be as fair as possible. The inspectors or those in charge of tendering can create a ground where corruption comes into place. A person making a tender can offer to pay a bribe to the inspector in order to be offered the contract. If the inspector agrees to take the bribe, it constitutes corruption.

Despite methods and projects put in place to settle the housing sector in the settle the problem of housing in the sector, it has been noted that there exists a major problem, corruption, which hinders the achievement of the goal of meeting the escalated demand. Some senior public housing officers confess the fact some people gain some personal benefit from the public houses units and end up reselling them at high prices. The resulting effect of this is that houses in the upscale neighbourhood of Algeria capital to be more expensive than similar houses in Spain.

An attempt by government of Algeria to provide free housing has proved futile as there are vices derailing it from being fully beneficial or implemented fairly. Such vices include corruption where during issuing of the free units, due to high demand, some individuals offer bribes to the authorities issuing them so as to secure one. Some senior public officials have come out publicly to confess that there are some officials making personal benefits from the program of free initiative to the general public. This has derailed its benefiting by the intended people making it impossible to make it important to the people it was intended to benefit who are the disadvantaged in the country.

Another reason for the failure of the free housing project by the government is where the houses are used for a different motive rather than the intended one. Some government officials use the project to hunt for votes from the general public. They give out the houses depending on whether the beneficiaries will return the favour of voting in the person during the elections. Therefore, it will be almost impossible to make a fair distribution of the houses.

The government and the media have more often attributed the housing disaster to problems in the local administration where lists of beneficiaries are prepared. There lacks transparency in the way that the lists are prepared. Cases of corruption have been reported and also nepotism in some situation. Thus, the local administration acts as a major hindrance to the achievement of the goal of solving the housing crisis in the country and is to be blamed.

Corruption occurs from the inception of the construction of new houses. The demand for new houses in the public sector is downward sloping. Public contracts require tendering them to the public so as to ensure that public works are fairly distributed to the public. The tendering process should be as fair as possible. The inspectors or those in charge of tendering can create a ground where corruption comes into place. A person making a tender can offer to pay a bribe to the inspector in order to be offered the contract. If the inspector agrees to take the bribe, it constitutes corruption.

The housing sector in Algeria

Housing in Algeria has become a major issue affecting the country. It emerged as a critical issue in the 1980s escalating in the 1990s. It was observed that in 1992, the public housing sector could only provide thirty five thousand units and as compared to the demand to the demand in 1986, where eighty eight thousand units were being demanded, it only appeared to escalate as days went by. As population increased, the demand was expected to rise in hundred folds and thus creating a situation of a competition between the people demanding the few houses being offered. The Algerian ministry of housing reported that the country requires a total of two hundred and twenty five new housing units every year if they are to meet the escalating demand for houses but however the government only manages to build seventy five thousand units creating a shortage of one hundred and fifty thousand units.

Between 1990 and 1993, the government of Algeria had sought to manage or solve the housing problem. They constructed three hundred and sixty thousand more housing units and also launched programs meant to assist the problem of housing especially to the people earning low incomes. This however, after rating, had a lower success as compared to the project implemented between 1980 and 1984 where a hundred thousand housing units were constructed and was rated at fifty seven percent. This was associated to flaws in the government where senior officials in the government made personal benefits from the housing units rather than the intended beneficiaries.

An independent international research company known as Anti-graft Watchdog Transparency International ranked Algeria at position one hundred and twelve. This indicates that both the public and private sector are involved in corruption activities at a high rate. The public housing sector is no exception as it is a constituent of the public sector as a whole. Abderraouf, an economics student at the Annaba University, commenting on the government officials said that all government officials are corrupt and all they think of are ways of enriching themselves. This is an indication that they have been engaged in corruption and graft while in government instead of meeting the needs of the citizens they are supposed to be serving.

The activists of human rights activists have centred there arguments around the political and civic rights, while other human rights have always been regarded as aspirations. Therefore, advocating for corruption as a human rights issue has not received prominence among human rights organizations in spite of the negative impacts. Most countries in Africa have made major strides in civil and political rights as they transition to autocracy. However corruption is an obstacle to the transition irredeemably and it is important that the gains should be safeguarded.

In Algeria, the occurrence of corruption derails the reform agenda since it is considered to be endemic and affects the society’s fabric. The situation of human rights in Algeria has been tense following the eruption of internal conflict in 1992. This followed a state of emergency which was declared after the onset of the conflict between Islamic insurgents and the security forces.

According to the National Consultative Commission for the Protection of Human Rights, corruption is an issue that emerged and spread the country; hence influencing all classes of people and undermines social fabric. On the other hand, the manner in which the state institutions operate should aim at reducing corruption in order to ensure that they serve the interest of the society. Hence, pervasive corruption in Algeria coupled with the impunity it causes facilitates the risk which thwarts all the attempts that makes the economy and the entire society to prosper. The country created the commission to aim at minimizing corruption and to avoid the corrupt officials from interfering with the distribution of the houses. Poverty is a social problem which quite rampant in spite of the vast natural resources; making many Algerians to get deeply disenchanted with the political leaders, as well as, the ruling class.

Social Housing in Algeria

Social housing in Algeria is an important issue which has achieved great interest and has been considered a key development initiative. The issue of social housing in Algeria is very evident in and is currently in the process of change from the rural to modern housing. Coupled with migration from the rural areas to towns or urban centres, there is need to create comprehensive housing in order to ensure decent housing for all groups of people, despite income level.

The advent of housing policies can assist the government to achieve an improved and efficient housing sector in the country. The provision of social housing is a prerequisite for socio-economic development in the country. However, citizens anticipate that housing conditions should improve with the nation’s economic development. Inadequate housing conditions are a sign of corruption. This demonstrates that the availability of adequate housing in the country is determined by income level. On the other hand, there is availability statistical information on the deficiency housing stock in Algeria. On the other hand, due to lack of all-inclusive housing surveys in Algeria, population and housing sector in Algeria is done by comparing the housing stock with the housing stock with the population size. An evaluation of the average housing size shows that there is overcrowding and poor housing conditions and the available of adequate services to families. According to a preliminary survey of the housing sector in Algeria, it is evident that the prices of houses is very high, which are high above the levels which would be expected at the levels of individual’s income. In Algeria, the ratio between the prices of houses and individual income level is 9. This demonstrates the middle income class category should make saving of their annual income for more than nine years in order to be able to afford average housing units. However, due to the increased demand for decent housing units in Algeria, the demand for decent houses is largely reflected by the house price increases rather than an increase in investments in the housing sector.

Housing subsidies forms an important part of housing strategies. This is coupled with the government policies, which forms a significant portion of the housing subsidies. However, while the demand for higher income groups is satisfied, lower, the demand for lower and even middle income groups are left to the informal sector. In addition, there are indications that there is an increase of informal housing stock in Algeria. Policy makers believe that the housing sector produces one of the longest-lived commodities in the country’ economy and the housing sector becoming investment by most household in Algeria, as well as, most African countries.

Algeria has been having a long record in dealing with issues of corruption, which has also contributed to massive wastage of public amenities and funds. Algeria has remained plunged with intense levels of corruption at both the state levels as well as, institutional levels of administration. In addition, corruption is among the factors which affect the Algerian competitiveness according to a report released by World Economic Forum 2010-2011. Algeria has many constructions and privation contracts which are being processed, but are mainly hampered with corrupt deals. In addition, most infrastructure having considerable financial resources are given to political leaders or assigned at the local or provincial levels, leading to the creation of new avenues for civil servants to be corrupt by asking for bribes.

In adequate access to proper housing has emerged as one of Algeria’s most critical issues, and is an area where policy makers have performed poorly. When the list of social housing beneficiaries is released, violence always erupts over lack of transparency, as well as, corruption which leads into irregularities in the process of distribution of the houses. In areas such as Laghouat, there have been cases of demonstrations taking more than a week where individuals who are excluded from the social housing distributions denounce discrimination as well as, injustices which are prevalent among local administrators.


In this chapter, the researcher will use secondary data analysis to explore the implications of corruption on human rights, with special attention to the housing sector performance and policies in Algeria. The secondary research will be the main tool that will be used to obtain vital information concerning corruption both in the practical and the legal concepts. Secondary sources of data will include information obtained from published materials, such as, books, academic journals, as well as, international conventions dealing with human rights. In addition, the literature review will also cover local legislations in order to examine a theoretical view concerning the issue of corruption and how it is described to be implemented in the Algerian context.

Primary data will be obtained through qualitative analysis instead of quantitative analysis. Thus, since corruption is an endemic issue in the Algerian context, the researcher will use interview schedules particularly in Tlemcen, where there are many people who are living below poverty line, as a result of high unemployment rates. The interviews will be conducted by approaching participants in order to obtain honest feedback particularly regarding corruption issues. Other participants will include labor organizations, as well as, parties in order to obtain the current data regarding unemployment rates in the area under study, concerning unemployment and housing issues, in Algeria.

The study will also assess the differences between the announced figures concerning the progress and efforts done by the government in areas of unemployment and housing sector, which is a social problem facing many people who are homeless in Algeria. The findings of this study will be beneficial to policymakers, as well as, academicians in order to understand how corruption in the housing sector deprives people of their basic human rights, as provided in international conventions and as agreed in the Algerian legislation paper. The data on corruption and housing sector is not empirical because the data may infer to the household surveys, but depends on the reports which are provided by the government or local experts.


Housing Policies, Deliveries and Practices

In Algeria, the main focus of housing policy is to diversify and group the housing types based on the level of individual incomes. It is evident from the reviewed liter4ature that low income groups in Algeria have access to social housing units which are funded by the government. On the other hand, intermediate groups have access to direct financial needs which are allocated by the governments and are subject to the budget resources. Thus, they may be able to have loans from the financial institutions in order to buy the houses from the public or private developers. Households who hail in the rural areas also have access to the government loans in order to be able to purchase houses. This is mainly done by the government in order to enable households to be able to live in rural areas. The other sources of funds for people living in the rural areas are agriculture development fund which is provided by the government. The financial aid for the rural construction depends on the financial income of the individuals, and ranges from $4000 to $5000. On the other hand, the government has also initiated a system where households can obtain a house for 25 years with an initial contribution of a quarter of the construction cost. This initiative had been successful because the remaining three quarters of the cost of construction is being refunded on a monthly basis. It has been a very beneficial initiative mostly to the middle income group who are living in urban areas.

Households living in slum areas have access to social housing programs. Under this initiative, the slum houses are destroyed and the land is channeled to the construction of new projects. Thus, the distribution of social housing projects is undertaken by an administrative committee where local authorities and community based organizations are represented. However, the management of the social housing units is undertaken by the public housing offices which are responsible of recovering rents from the tenants of the social housing units, and are concerned with promoting other kinds of dwellings.

There has been the evolution of financial resources meant for the social housing. However, the funds are not are not derived from the national budgets.