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Corruption and whistleblowing in international humanitarian aid agencies

Ronald D. Francis (Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)
Anona Armstrong (Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 11 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to address issues of corruption and governance for international humanitarian organisations (such as Red Cross, Greenpeace, the Salvation Army, and Médecins Sans Frontières). Any such corruption may be both an issue of governance within an organisation as well as an external issue, such as political corruption, with which such organisations must deal in relationships with stakeholders.


The analysis is derived from annual reports, news reports, and published articles.


A moral basis for operations is based on analysis, information, measuring and reporting.

Research limitations/implications

In‐depth investigations of the ethical performance of humanitarian organisations are required.

Practical implications

The paper addresses issues of analyses of problems, the measurement of effectiveness, the moral dilemmas incurred by aid agencies, and offers some suggestions for improvement.

Social implications

Transparency would encourage greater contributions to the important work undertaken by these organisations.


The moral obligations of humanitarian organisations are usually assessed in terms of their social impacts. This paper suggests that their future viability may also rest on their ability to demonstrate an ethical approach to their operations.



Francis, R.D. and Armstrong, A. (2011), "Corruption and whistleblowing in international humanitarian aid agencies", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 319-335.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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