Deputy SG Highlights Rule of Law, Justice and Human Rights for post-2015

The UN Deputy Secretary General, Jan Eliasson, made a statement to the event on rule of law, transitional justice and development, in New York on 1 November. You can read extracts below:

“Delivering justice through the rule of law is at the foundation of all our work at the UN.  The rule of law is fundamental to maintaining a lasting peace.  It is of central importance to fair and sustainable development.  And it makes rights enforceable in practice.

Let me make this more concrete.  An effective criminal justice system reduces violence.  Enforceable contracts and fair labour regulations support inclusive growth.  A just constitution promotes equality.  Independent judges can hold State institutions to account and protect our rights.  In contrast, injustice and human rights violations create conditions that hamper development.  Transitional justice is crucial for societies to address the root causes that contribute to societal upheavals.

Tunisia is a powerful case in point.  As noted in the most recent report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, rapid MDG (Millennium Development Goals) progress failed to predict widespread popular discontent.  We see again that economic growth alone is not an adequate measure of development.  The rule of law and human rights matter, as well.  Justice, security and development cannot be promoted in isolation from or at the expense of the other.

Last month, at the Security Council’s debate on women, the rule of law and transitional justice in conflict-affected situations, the connection between justice, peace and development was once again strongly felt.  The Council adopted a resolution that reiterated the importance of women’s participation in shaping transitional justice, as well as their access to measures that address the full range of human rights violations.  There is much that we can and must do to ensure the inclusion of the voices, interests and concerns of women.

The rule of law is not an abstract concept to me.  In Sweden, as our hosts can affirm, institutions were strengthened through the rule of law.  This earned them public trust and allowed them to become an anchor for the country’s development.

In September of last year, all 193 United Nations Member States endorsed this same idea:  that the rule of law and development are mutually reinforcing.  The declaration adopted at their high-level meeting affirmed that this interrelationship should be considered in the post-2015 development agenda.”

Click here to access the full statement.


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