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.
The 62nd session of the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will be held at the United Nations in New York from March 12 to 23, 2018. The Commission is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of women’s rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women.
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”.
HIGH LEVEL SIDE EVENT Legal Frameworks for the Empowerment of Rural Women: Case Studies From Across the SDGs
HIGH LEVEL SIDE EVENT Closing the Gender Gap: Achieving Gender Parity in UN Human Rights Bodies
STATEMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LAW ORGANIZATION
37th Session of the Human Rights Council: High Level Segment
February 28, 2018
Room XX, Palais des Nations
Delivered by Irene Khan, Director-General, IDLO
Stigma and discrimination, especially against women and girls and key populations, is a major barrier to people using HIV services. Up to 60% of countries report having laws, regulations or policies that deter people in key populations from being able to protect themselves from, or get treatment for, HIV.
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.
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.
The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have established four nationally operated Rule of Law Centres in Myanmar to provide communities with the knowledge, skills and values they need to address local justice issues through training, dialogue and access to resources.
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 post-Soviet 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. 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.