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Apr 7, 2014

DEPUTY SG - STRENGTHEN RULE OF LAW FOR PEACE, SECURITY


 

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson has called for the strengthening of human rights and the rule of law in order to meet the challenges in bringing peace and security to places of conflict and crisis, and in building sustainable development for all.

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson has called for the strengthening of human rights and the rule of law in order to meet the challenges in bringing peace and security to places of conflict and crisis, and in building sustainable development for all.

The rule of law empowers citizens to address underlying causes of inequality and exclusion that is why the High-level Declaration calls for consideration of the rule of law in the post-2015 international development agenda.

He was giving the keynote address at a high level panel discussion on “the rule of law, peace and security, human rights and development” at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday(, February 27, 2014.).

It is a follow-up to the Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law at the National and International Levels:

The focus of the discussions is to develop the linkages between the rule of law and the three main pillars of the United Nations:  peace and security, development and human rights apart from exploring themes emerging from the United Nations family, the legal community, civil society and academia, Deputy Secretary-General said.

Mr. Eliasson explained that the rule of law, based on human rights, underpins peace and security.  At the international level, the Charter provides the basis for friendly relations between States as sovereign equals.  At the national level, justice and the rule of law can prevent and mitigate violence and conflict by providing peaceful channels for the resolution of grievances.

Justice and the rule of law are also fundamental for development.  The rule of law promotes inclusive economic growth and builds accountable institutions that underpin sustainable development.  The rule of law helps make basic services — such as education, health and sanitation — available for all.

“The rule of law empowers citizens to address underlying causes of inequality and exclusion.  That is why the High-level Declaration calls for consideration of the rule of law in the post-2015 international development agenda.

“The rule of law and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:  “If man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression human rights should be protected by the rule of law.” The Deputy Secretary-General stated.

Rights are empty words in the absence of a legal and political order in which they can be realized, he argued pointing out that the rule of law is the vehicle for the promotion and protection of all human rights.

‘At the centre of the international system is the importance of compliance with the Charter of the United Nations and its purposes and principles.

“At the national level, Governments are to translate their international obligations into national legal frameworks, from constitutions to the regulation of business activity.  Just and fair legal frameworks should govern all areas of society in order to foster peace, development and human rights.  These frameworks must be fully and impartially applied and enforced’, he said.

Furthermore, transparency and accountability are powerful tools for oversight of the use of public resources to prevent corruption.  Corruption distorts markets and hinders sustainable development.

 

Institutions must also be accessible.  Providing people with legal identity assists people in accessing institutions and enjoying their rights.  Without legal identity, individuals are vulnerable to discrimination and exploitation.  Despite its importance, the births of nearly 230 million children under the age of five around the world have never been registered.

In his view, without implementation the UN’s declarations ring hollow, concluding that “without even-handed application, the benefits of the rule of law to the three pillars will not be realized”.

Expert panelists are:  Louise Arbour, President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Crisis Group and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Muna Ndulo, Professor of Law at Cornell Law School and Director of Cornell University’s Institute for African Development; and Irene Khan, Director-General of the International Development Law Organization.