As the international community in Geneva marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, IDLO’s Director-General Irene Khan has called for increased recognition of the “rule of law as a pathway to making human rights real”.
Addressing the High-Level Segment of the 37th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, Ms. Khan told delegates that greater attention must “be given to strengthening the rule of law and building the capacity of the justice sector at national and local levels to uphold human rights”.
The rule of law plays a key role in enabling human rights through top-down and bottom-up approaches to both build institutions and enhance legal empowerment. Through its programs on the ground aimed at promoting judicial integrity, strengthening access to justice and supporting gender justice, to name but a few, IDLO contributes to protecting and promoting human rights across the world.
On the margins of the Human Rights Council, Ms. Khan met with high-level representatives of the United Nations and the international community.
In meetings with the President of the Human Rights Council, Vojislav Suc, and the Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva, Michael Møller, Ms. Khan highlighted IDLO’s engagement with key United Nations bodies such as the Council’s Rule of Law Group, the Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the SDG Lab and the Geneva Perception Change Project.
Noting the centrality of the 2030 Agenda to IDLO’s Strategy 2020 and the concrete contributions of the rule of law for sustaining peace and combatting corruption, she presented IDLO’s work in a number of countries to the Swiss Permanent Representative in Geneva, Valentin Zellweger, as well as Switzerland’s Special Envoy for the Sustainable Development Goals, Michael Gerber.
Ms. Khan also discussed ongoing cooperation as well as partnership opportunities with Mexico’s Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Miguel Ruiz Cabañas, and its Permanent Representative in Geneva, Maria del Socorro Flores Liera, as well as the Permanent Representative of Ireland, Michael Gaffey, and the Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada, Catherine Godin.
During a meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, IDLO and UNHCR signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen their partnership in rule of law initiatives for refugees, internally displaced persons and stateless people.
IDLO has engaged in all regular and special sessions of the Human Rights Council since establishing an office in Geneva in 2013, with a view to championing the rule of law with decision makers and mobilizing political will, as envisaged in Sustainable Development Goal 16.
In 2018, IDLO is celebrating its 30th anniversary as an intergovernmental organization exclusively devoted to promoting the rule of law and access to justice.
Photo caption: IDLO Director-General Irene Khan with Miguel Ruiz Cabañas, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of Mexico