On 5th June 2012, UNDP released the 2011 Annual Report on the global programme for strengthening the Rule of Law in Crisis-affected and Fragile Situations.
The meeting focused on the importance of helping the countries affected by violence and conflict to establish and strengthen rule of law mechanisms and institutions.
The event took place just a few months before the General Assembly’s High Level Event on the Rule of Law scheduled for 24 September 2012.
Today, more than one and a half billion people around the world are living in countries affected by armed conflict and fragility.
The Rule of Law in Crisis Affected and Fragile Contexts is essential to restore those mechanisms and institutions ensuring the legal and physical protection for people and their property, equality before the law, freedom from discrimination, and redress for crimes and human rights abuses.
The rule of law is vital for cementing the social contract between the state and its citizens, and is critical for conflict prevention and post-conflict recovery.
In the tumultuous events associated with the Arab States uprisings over the past year and a half where citizens have been demanding change, rule of law institutions – the judiciary, the police, the security forces, and the law-makers – have frequently been the focus of their grievances.
Where such institutions and their personnel are perceived to be corrupt and unable to represent and serve all citizens, they are also at the centre of grievances voiced by citizens in other regions. Through UNDP’s work around the world, we see citizens demanding assurances that the state – and especially its justice and security institutions – will serve the people.
At a minimum, the legitimacy of such institutions requires:
- police and security professionals performing their functions uncontaminated by corruption and discrimination, and without brutality and use of excessive force;
- courts providing timely and impartial access to justice; and,
- prison systems adhering to human rights principles.