Promoting and enforcing the rule of law in post-2015 – view from Jamaica

Article by Nigel Gayle, writing in the Jamaica Observer:

A call for Jamaica to support the inclusion of Access to Justice and the Rule of Law on the post-2015 UN’s development agenda and as a goal.

The rule of law is the linchpin to eradicate corruption, crime, inequality, and poverty, some of the main problems plaguing developing countries globally, such as Jamaica. Thirteen years ago the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set out to eliminate extreme poverty. This effort has led to significant progress, albeit much is left to be done. Since the time set to achieve the MDGs will expire in 2015, it is opportune time to rethink this development agenda. The global move to chart the course in writing the rules of the post-2015 game has already started and is mounting much attention. It is a chance to correct wrongs and fill gaps. Specifically, this is an opportunity to add our voice, as Jamaicans and members of Caricom, to the cause for the inclusion of a goal for justice, inclusive of the Rule of Law. The United Nations’ Secretary-General, His Excellency Ban Ki-moon has already pledged to entertain public views worldwide from non-governmental organizations (NGO), groups and thinkers, before commencing intergovernmental negotiations.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), about four billion people are excluded from the rule of law and are thereby living without the protections of the law. They live without access to their rights and are vulnerable to exploitation and violence. Corruption is perceived as rampant globally, including in Jamaica, according to the most recent Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. It can be said that the MDGs tend to exclude the poorest, vulnerable and most marginalised, which is unfortunate. It is therefore hoped that the new post-2015 development goals will, among others, protect and empower them, while promoting and fostering democracy, freedoms and economic growth. Justice and the Rule of Law, as one of the clear new post-2015 development agenda and goal, could be a medium to channel such development, inclusion and access to justice.”

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