The rule of law is emerging as one of the most pressing issues of this century. It is a cornerstone of peace, security, justice and development.
Human rights and the rule of law are not synonymous, but they do overlap and function symbiotically. In the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, they "represent universally applicable standards adopted under the auspices of the United Nations and must therefore serve as the normative basis for all United Nations activities in support of justice and the rule of law."
To summarize, the stronger human rights, the stronger the rule of law. Together, they form a framework for decision- and policy-making that is anchored by legality, accountability and participation. In this, they create a fertile ground for development and social transformation.
At any given time in the world, 11.5 million people spend their days behind bars, often pending trial and in overcrowded cells. Prisons operating above their occupancy limits are difficult to manage. In many countries, this translates into corrections systems where international human rights standards and respect for the rule of law are rarely implemented.
Statement by the Director-General Jan Beagle on Human Rights Day
10 December 2021
Every year, the world recalls the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948. We reflect on improvements made to date and renew our commitment to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights.
Tuesday, 31 August 2021 | 9:00 – 13:00 CEST
Regional Practitioner Dialogue: Community Paralegals, Customary and Informal Justice Systems, and New Pathways to People-Centred Justice
Statement at the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council - High-level Segment
Delivered by Jan Beagle, Director-General, IDLO
Colleagues and Friends,
Human Rights Day
As part of IDLO’s continuous commitment to accountability and results-based management, IDLO is pleased to share this Evaluati
Lack of access to a fair and equitable justice system is one of the most pressing problems confronting modern Somalia on its path towards stability and reconstruction. Informal justice systems, offering alternative dispute resolution are often much better placed to respond to the immediate justice needs of many Somalis seeking justice, as they have more legitimacy and are more easily accessible. To enhance access to justice in Somalia, it is therefore essential to engage with the alternative dispute resolution systems.
In Somalia, alternative justice mechanisms remain the main providers of justice services for lack of formal justice institutions. However, these justice mechanisms can be discriminatory particularly against women, youth and minority clans.
Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, has been devastated by armed conflict since September 2014. The conflict has received limited international coverage and human rights violations and violations under international humanitarian law suffered by the civilian population have been grossly underreported. All parties to the conflict have been linked to serious violations of international law, with inadequate accountability mechanisms in place to ensure justice for victims.
The Programmatic Framework for the Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law Fund builds on Indonesian development plans and continues the efforts of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta to support the consolidation of the rule of law and reform agenda. The primary objective of the Rule of Law Fund is to support the development of effective, accountable and inclusive justice sector institutions, ensuring equal access to justice in Indonesia.
Strengthening prevention and accountability for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) through the rule of law and access to justice has been a priority for the Government of Myanmar since 2011, when it embarked on an unprecedented transition towards democracy. SGBV cases are rarely reported and, when they are, the justice sector fails to provide adequate remedies. Therefore, there is a widely recognized need to increase prevention of and accountability for SGBV.
Evaluation (Mid-Term) of the project "Reducing Violence and Homicide through Access to Justice in San Pedro Sula, Honduras"As part of IDLO’s continuous commitment to accountability and results-based management, IDLO is pleased to share this Mid-Term Evaluation Brief for the project, “Reducing Violence and Homicide through Access to Justice in Chamelecon, Satelite and Rivera Hernandez Neighborhoods of San Pedro Sula, Honduras”. The evaluation has been conducted by independent evaluation experts, supervised by IDLO’s Evaluation Unit.
Somalia is striving to strengthen its institutions and to improve the rule of law, however high levels of crime still persist. These include forms of complex crimes, namely extremist violence, organized crime, sexual and gender-based violence and corruption. In recent years, the Somali Federal Government has improved the fight against armed groups and made efforts to improve the capacity of the justice system to handle complex crimes.
One of the challenges in scaling up HIV-related legal services is the limited number of knowledgeable, skilled and committed lawyers to provide such services. Part of the solution therefore lies in building the capacity of law schools to ensure law graduates are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to support human rights-based approaches to HIV. Many universities, including in East Africa, offer clinical legal education programs to give students direct experience of providing legal information to clients.
Despite having reached satisfactory standards of democracy and improved the respect for human rights, Mongolia faces some serious issues in addressing high levels of domestic violence against women. Mechanisms and services for protection of and support to victims of domestic violence are still very limited. A lack of training, procedural guidelines and inter-agency coordination between justice sector actors often creates obstacles for victims and hinders an efficient response to domestic abuse.
Promoting increased accountability for sexual and gender-based violence in Liberia.
In 2014, the Rule of Law Centres Initiative was launched to increase trust and cooperation between justice providers and the communities they serve. With project offices in Mandalay, Yangon, Myitkyina and Taunggyi, the Rule of Law Centres trained lawyers, law teachers, government officials and civil society representatives on key rule of law and human rights issues and raised awareness of rule of law in communities across the country.
Mongolia has formally joined IDLO, the latest stage in an expanding partnership for the advancement the rule of law. The first communist-ruled nation outside the Soviet Union, Mongolia has over the last two decades built a democracy that is untypical of its region. But for all the efforts of its political class and civil society, it has some way to go to improve governance, enhance access to justice, and reduce inequality.
With a view to replacing a culture of violence in Honduras with one of legality, IDLO has outlined a program to reduce violent acts and homicides through better access to justice. Work, carried out in partnership with national institutions and civil society organizations, will focus specifically on vulnerable groups, including women, children, youth and people in detention. The program is financed by the US Department of State.
In Ukraine, as in most eastern European states, the role of the Public Prosecutor is oversized in relation to the Judiciary and the rest of the legal community. The institution is historically prone to abuse of power and corruption, and skewed towards protecting the interests of the state over those of society or the individual. Regard for human rights is scant; fair trial standards are rarely applied. As a consequence, public dissatisfaction is rife. However, current political will to change the system has opened up an opportunity for meaningful reform.
The weight of custom and the failings of the formal justice system mean most Afghans only access justice via informal dispute resolution mechanisms. With this in mind, IDLO has been assisting informal justice actors to perform their duties within basic legal standards and a human-rights positive framework.