International Development Law Organization

Human Rights

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.

HRC 42 | Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

42nd Session of the Human Rights Council: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

STATEMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LAW ORGANIZATION

Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

Delivered by Julian Fleet, Permanent Observer to the United Nations in Geneva

Strengthening the Alternative Dispute Resolution in Somalia

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.

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Key Initiatives

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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