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Jun 29, 2016
Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen,
Let me start by thanking our distinguished panel for sharing their experiences with us this morning, and for their tireless efforts to strengthen the rule of law and human rights.
I would also like to convey our utmost appreciation for the important and timely support provided by Member States to our rule of law and human rights work in crisis-affected contexts. We are particularly grateful to the Government of the Netherlands for its multi-year partnership with UNDP on this important area.
Let me emphasize the opening words of our 2015 Annual Report: “Strengthening the rule of law in crisis-affected and fragile situations turns human rights from a principle into reality.” Indeed, without institutions to uphold them, human rights remain empty words. Without principles to guide them, institutions tend to grasp unyielding power.
Every day, we see the effects of a breakdown in the rule of law. For example, in the Syrian crisis, we have witnessed extreme violations of human rights by all parties to the conflict. In Libya, rival forces vie for power and ordinary communities are caught in the crossfire. In Burundi, the political process has descended into unfettered violence along ethnic lines.
These examples only serve to remind us that we, the international community, must work together to build societies that respect and abide by human rights and the rule of law. This will, in turn, contribute to sustaining peace and development for generations to come.
UNDP’s Global Programme on Rule of Law is implemented in situations of ongoing crisis and in places where the legacy of conflict lingers. We have teamed up with national partners in over 40 different countries to restore the delivery of justice and security services to communities affected by fragility.
You have heard this morning senior officials and diplomats from Mali, Guatemala, South Africa, Somalia, Benin, Sri Lanka and others expressing how many Member States are driving this process. And they are driving it along four areas.
First, supporting societies in dealing with the legacy of large-scale violence or human rights abuses. The intervention of the Attorney General of Guatemala could not be more expressive. Not only to what these abuses meant to ordinary people, to women villagers, at the hands of military, completely helpless in front of the abuse of state authority. But also what has been the restoration of justice and non-repetition by the authorities of the state, very dignifiedly represented by you Madam Attorney General.
We heard from the Administrator of UNDP this morning about our contribution to the Colombian peace negotiations, where the victims could participate in the innovative peace process which led to the historic signing of the ceasefire only last Thursday, 23rd June in Habana, Cuba.
The second area of work is to enhance the capacity of national partners to increase safety and security for all. High levels of armed violence undermine opportunities for development and peace. And you heard the Ambassador of Somalia talking about six thousand weapons that were decommissioned, now transforming into instruments for peace.
We have worked in Jordan with dispute resolution that brought together influential religious leaders, civil society activists, and youth representatives to provide space for inter-communal dialogue.
In South Sudan, together with the peacekeeping mission UNMISS, we work with the national police to strengthen community-oriented policing through citizen engagement.
Third area of work; dedicated to improving access to justice and security for women and girls in conflict and crisis-affected situations.
In Afghanistan, we increased the proportion of female personnel in the National Police and works with the institution to address discriminatory attitudes in the police force. 580 newly recruited female officers only last year were trained and successfully deployed across the country to perform police duties and promote respectful and gender-sensitive behavior within the police.
Our fourth area of focus is to assist national authorities in rebuilding public trust and confidence in the effectiveness, accountability, and responsiveness of their justice and security institutions.
You heard this morning the Representative of Sri Lanka, speak to you about justice for an estimated 1,000 Tamils working in the plantation sector. Through mobile legal clinics providing legal aid and advisory services as well as legal documentation, the Tamil population is now able to gain access to services and entitlement that had previously been denied to them.
In strengthening the rule of law, UNDP is very proud to work jointly with partners from across the UN pillars. For starters and very importantly this work benefited from the UNDP-DPKO led Global Focal Point for Police, Justice, and Corrections – which convenes partners from OHCHR, UNWOMEN, UNICEF and UNODC.
In this work, our main financial vehicle has been the Global Programme on Rule of Law. As many of you know, 2015 marked the end of the Programme’s second phase and today I am pleased to launch the next integrated Global Programme for Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights to Sustain Peace and Foster Development.
We look forward to discussing the new Programme in detail over the course of next week.
But let me again reiterate how much we have benefitted from the support of the Netherlands from Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States for their contributions to the development of this new phase.
Every minute an estimated 24 people are forcibly displaced from their homes. This means that in the time it took for me to deliver these brief remarks, more people have fled their homes than there is in thjs room. We must do better, more and faster. The UN system must do more to deliver coordinated and comprehensive assistance to vulnerable people and to the countries most in need of support. We must work harder to bridge our humanitarian protection efforts with our development and peacebuilding efforts. We must make sure our work combines short-term security needs with politically savvy commitments to strengthen the rule of law and provide access to justice to those who need out protection.
Thank you very much.